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Title: Roman life in the days of Cicero

Author: Alfred J[ohn] Church

Release Date: September 16, 2004 [EBook #13481]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Ted Garvin, Graeme Mackreth and the Online Distributed
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   Roman Life in the
   Days of Cicero
   By the

Author of "Stories from Homer"


New York




















This book does not claim to be a life of Cicero or a history of the last
days of the Roman Republic. Still less does it pretend to come into
comparison with such a work as Bekker's _Gallus_, in which on a slender
thread of narrative is hung a vast amount of facts relating to the
social life of the Romans. I have tried to group round the central
figure of Cicero various sketches of men and manners, and so to give my
readers some idea of what life actually was in Rome, and the provinces
of Rome, during the first six decades--to speak roughly--of the first
century B.C. I speak of Cicero as the "central figure," not as judging
him to be the most important man of the time, but because it is from
him, from his speeches and letters, that we chiefly derive the
information of which I have here made use. Hence it follows that I give,
not indeed a life of the great orator, but a sketch of his personality
and career. I have been obliged also to trespass on the domain of
history: speaking of Cicero, I was obliged to speak also of Caesar and
of Pompey, of Cato and of Antony, and to give a narrative, which I have
striven to make as brief as possible, of their military achievements and
political action. I must apologize for seeming to speak dogmatically on
some questions which have been much disputed. It would have been
obviously inconsistent with the character of the book to give the
opposing arguments; and my only course was to state simply conclusions
which I had done my best to make correct.

I have to acknowledge my obligations to Marquardt's _Privat-Leben der
Romer_, Mr. Capes' _University Life in Ancient Athens_, and Mr. Watson's
_Select Letters of Cicero_, I have also made frequent use of Mr. Anthony
Trollope's _Life of Cicero_, a work full of sound sense, though
curiously deficient in scholarship.

The publishers and myself hope that the illustrations, giving as there
is good reason to believe they do the veritable likenesses of some of
the chief actors in the scenes described, will have a special interest.
It is not till we come down to comparatively recent times that we find
art again lending the same aid to the understanding of history.

Some apology should perhaps be made for retaining the popular title of
one of the illustrations. The learned are, we believe, agreed that the
statue known as the "Dying Gladiator" does not represent a gladiator at
all. Yet it seemed pedantic, in view of Byron's famous description, to
let it appear under any other name.


HADLEY GREEN _October_ 8, 1883.




A Roman father's first duty to his boy, after lifting him up in his arms
in token that he was a true son of the house, was to furnish him with a
first name out of the scanty list (just seventeen) to which his choice
was limited. This naming was done on the eighth day after birth, and was
accompanied with some religious ceremonies, and with a feast to which
kinsfolk were invited. Thus named he was enrolled in some family or
state register. The next care was to protect him from the malignant
influence of the evil eye by hanging round his neck a gilded _bulla_, a
round plate of metal. (The _bulla_ was of leather if he was not of
gentle birth.) This he wore till he assumed the dress of manhood. Then
he laid it aside, possibly to assume it once more, if he attained the
crowning honor to which a Roman could aspire, and was drawn in triumph
up the slope of the Capitol. He was nursed by his mother, or, in any
case, by a free-born woman. It was his mother that had exclusive charge
of him for the first seven years of his life, and had much to say to the
ordering of his life afterwards. For Roman mothers were not shut up like
their sisters in Greece, but played no small part in affairs--witness
the histories or legends (for it matters not for this purpose whether
they are fact or fiction) of the Sabine wives, of Tullia, who stirred up
her husband to seize a throne, or Veturia, who turned her son Coriolanus
from his purpose of besieging Rome. At seven began the education which
was to make him a citizen and a soldier. Swimming, riding, throwing the
javelin developed his strength of body. He learned at the same time to
be frugal, temperate in eating and drinking, modest and seemly in
behavior, reverent to his elders, obedient to authority at home and
abroad, and above all, pious towards the gods. If it was the duty of
the father to act as priest in some temple of the State (for the
priests were not a class apart from their fellow-citizens), or to
conduct the worship in some chapel of the family, the lad would act as
_camillus_ or acolyte. When the clients, the dependents of the house,
trooped into the hall in the early morning hours to pay their respects
to their patron, or to ask his advice and assistance in their affairs,
the lad would stand by his father's chair and make acquaintance with his
humble friends. When the hall was thrown open, and high festival was
held, he would be present and hear the talk on public affairs or on past
times. He would listen to and sometimes take part in the songs which
celebrated great heroes. When the body of some famous soldier or
statesman was carried outside the walls to be buried or burned, he would
be taken to hear the oration pronounced over the bier.

At one time it was the custom, if we may believe a quaint story which
one of the Roman writers tells us, for the senators to introduce their
young sons to the sittings of their assembly, very much in the same way
as the boys of Westminster School are admitted to hear the debates in
the Houses of Parliament. The story professes to show how it was that
one of the families of the race of Papirius came to bear the name of
_Praetextatus_, i.e., clad in the _praetexta_ (the garb of boyhood), and
it runs thus:--"It was the custom in the early days of the Roman State
that the senators should bring their young sons into the Senate to the
end that they might learn in their early days how great affairs of the
commonwealth were managed. And that no harm should ensue to the city, it
was strictly enjoined upon the lads that they should not say aught of
the things which they had heard within the House. It happened on a day
that the Senate, after long debate upon a certain matter, adjourned the
thing to the morrow. Hereupon the son of a certain senator, named
Papirius, was much importuned by his mother to tell the matter which had
been thus painfully debated. And when the lad, remembering the command
which had been laid upon him that he should be silent about such
matters, refused to tell it, the woman besought him to speak more
urgently, till at the last, being worn out by her importunities, he
contrived this thing. 'The Senate,' he said, 'debated whether something
might not be done whereby there should be more harmony in families than
is now seen to be; and whether, should it be judged expedient to make
any change, this should be to order that a husband should have many
wives, or a wife should have more husbands than one.' Then the woman,
being much disturbed by the thing which she had heard, hastened to all
the matrons of her acquaintance, and stirred them up not to suffer any
such thing. Thus it came to pass that the Senate, meeting the next day,
were astonished beyond measure to see a great multitude of women
gathered together at the doors, who besought them not to make any
change; or, if any, certainly not to permit that a man should have more
wives than one. Then the young Papirius told the story how his mother
had questioned him, and how he had devised this story to escape from her
importunity. Thereupon the Senate, judging that all boys might not have
the same constancy and wit, and that the State might suffer damage from
the revealing of things that had best be kept secret, made this law,
that no sons of a senator should thereafter come into the House, save
only this young Papirius, but that he should have the right to come so
long as he should wear the _praetexta_."

While this general education was going on, the lad was receiving some
definite teaching. He learned of course to read, to write, and to
cypher. The elder Cato used to write in large characters for the benefit
of his sons portions of history, probably composed by himself or by his
contemporary Fabius, surnamed the "Painter" (the author of a chronicle
of Italy from the landing of Aeneas down to the end of the Second Punic
War). He was tempted to learn by playthings, which ingeniously combined
instruction and amusement. Ivory letters--probably in earlier times a
less costly material was used--were put into his hands, just as they are
put into the hands of children now-a-days, that he might learn how to
form words. As soon as reading was acquired, he began to learn by heart.
"When we were boys," Cicero represents himself as saying to his brother
Quintus, in one of his Dialogues, "we used to learn the 'Twelve
Tables.'" The "Twelve Tables" were the laws which Appius of evil fame
and his colleagues the decemvirs had arranged in a code. "No one," he
goes on to say, "learns them now." Books had become far more common in
the forty years which had passed between Cicero's boyhood and the time
at which he is supposed to be speaking; and the tedious lesson of his
early days had given place to something more varied and interesting.

Writing the boy learned by following with the pen (a sharp-pointed
_stylus_ of metal), forms of letters which had been engraved on tablets
of wood. At first his hand was held and guided by the teacher. This was
judged by the experienced to be a better plan than allowing him to shape
letters for himself on the wax-covered tablet. Of course parchment and
paper were far too expensive materials to be used for exercises and
copies. As books were rare and costly, dictation became a matter of much
importance. The boy wrote, in part at least, his own schoolbooks. Horace
remembers with a shudder what he had himself written at the dictation of
his schoolmaster, who was accustomed to enforce good writing and
spelling with many blows. He never could reconcile himself to the early
poets whose verse had furnished the matter of these lessons.

Our Roman boy must have found arithmetic a more troublesome thing than
the figures now in use (for which we cannot be too thankful to the Arabs
their inventors) have made it. It is difficult to imagine how any thing
like a long sum in multiplication or division could have been done with
the Roman numerals, so cumbrous were they. The number, for instance,
which we represent by the figures 89 would require for its expression no
less than _nine_ figures, LXXXVIIII. The boy was helped by using the
fingers, the left hand being used to signify numbers below a hundred,
and the right numbers above it. Sometimes his teacher would have a
counting-board, on which units, tens, and hundreds would be represented
by variously colored balls. The sums which he did were mostly of a
practical kind. Here is the sample that Horace gives of an arithmetic
lesson. "The Roman boys are taught to divide the penny by long
calculations. 'If from five ounces be subtracted one, what is the
remainder?' At once you can answer, 'A third of a penny.' 'Good, you
will be able to take care of your money. If an ounce be added what does
it make?' 'The half of a penny.'"

While he was acquiring this knowledge he was also learning a language,
the one language besides his own which to a Roman was worth
knowing--Greek. Very possibly he had begun to pick it up in the nursery,
where a Greek slave girl was to be found, just as the French _bonne_ or
the German nursery-governess is among our own wealthier families. He
certainly began to acquire it when he reached the age at which his
regular education was commenced. Cato the Elder, though he made it a
practice to teach his own sons, had nevertheless a Greek slave who was
capable of undertaking the work, and who actually did teach, to the
profit of his very frugal master, the sons of other nobles. Aemilius,
the conqueror of Macedonia, who was a few years younger than Cato, had
as a tutor a Greek of some distinction. While preparing the procession
of his triumph he had sent to Athens for a scene-painter, as we should
call him, who might make pictures of conquered towns wherewith to
illustrate his victories. He added to the commission a stipulation that
the artist should also be qualified to take the place of tutor. By good
fortune the Athenians happened to have in stock, so to speak, exactly
the man he wanted, one Metrodorus. Cicero had a Greek teacher in his own
family, not for his son indeed, who was not born till later, but for his
own benefit. This was one Diodotus, a Stoic philosopher. Cicero had been
his pupil in his boyhood, and gave him a home till the day of his death,
"I learned many things from him, logic especially." In old age he lost
his sight. "Yet," says his pupil, "he devoted himself to study even more
diligently than before; he had books read to him night and day. These
were studies which he could pursue without his eyes; but he also, and
this seems almost incredible, taught geometry without them, instructing
his learners whence and whither the line was to be drawn, and of what
kind it was to be." It is interesting to know that when the old man died
he left his benefactor about nine thousand pounds.

Of course only wealthy Romans could command for their sons the services
of such teachers as Diodotus; but any well-to-do-household contained a
slave who had more or less acquaintance with Greek. In Cicero's time a
century and more of conquests on the part of Rome over Greek and
Greek-speaking communities had brought into Italian families a vast
number of slaves who knew the Greek language, and something, often a
good deal, of Greek literature. One of these would probably be set apart
as the boy's attendant; from him he would learn to speak and read a
language, a knowledge of which was at least as common at Rome as is a
knowledge of French among English gentlemen.

If the Roman boy of whom we are speaking belonged to a very wealthy and
distinguished family, he would probably receive his education at home.
Commonly he would go to school. There were schools, girls' schools as
well as boys' schools, at Rome in the days of the wicked Appius
Claudius. The schoolmaster appears among the Etruscans in the story of
Camillus, when the traitor, who offers to hand over to the Roman general
the sons of the chief citizen of Falerii, is at his command scourged
back into the town by his scholars. We find him again in the same story
in the Latin town of Tusculum, where it is mentioned as one of the signs
of a time of profound peace (Camillus had hurriedly marched against the
town on a false report of its having revolted), that the hum of scholars
at their lessons was heard in the market-place. At Rome, as time went
on, and the Forum became more and more busy and noisy, the schools were
removed to more suitable localities. Their appliances for teaching were
improved and increased. Possibly maps were added, certainly reading
books. Homer was read, and, as we have seen, the old Latin play-writers,
and, afterwards, Virgil. Horace threatens the book which willfully
insists on going out into the world with this fate, that old age will
find it in a far-off suburb teaching boys their letters. Some hundred
years afterwards the prophecy was fulfilled. Juvenal tells us how the
schoolboys stood each with a lamp in one hand and a well-thumbed Horace
or sooty Virgil in the other. Quintilian, writing about the same time,
goes into detail, as becomes an old schoolmaster. "It is an admirable
practice that the boy's reading should begin with Homer and Virgil. The
tragic writers also are useful; and there is much benefit to be got from
the lyric poets also. But here you must make a selection not of authors
only, but a part of authors." It is curious to find him banishing
altogether a book that is, or certainly was, more extensively used in
our schools than any other classic, the Heroides of Ovid.

These, and such as these, then, are the books which our Roman boy would
have to read. Composition would not be forgotten. "Let him take," says
the author just quoted, "the fables of Aesop and tell them in simple
language, never rising above the ordinary level. Then let him pass on to
a style less plain; then, again, to bolder paraphrases, sometimes
shortening, sometimes amplifying the original, but always following his
sense." He also suggests the writing of themes and characters. One
example he gives is this, "Was Crates the philosopher right when, having
met an ignorant boy, he administered a beating to his teacher?" Many
subjects of these themes have been preserved. Hannibal was naturally
one often chosen. His passage of the Alps, and the question whether he
should have advanced on the city immediately after the battle of Cannae,
were frequently discussed. Cicero mentions a subject of the speculative
kind. "It is forbidden to a stranger to mount the wall. A. mounts the
wall, but only to help the citizens in repelling their enemies. Has A.
broken the law?"

To make these studies more interesting to the Roman boy, his
schoolmaster called in the aid of emulation. "I feel sure," says
Quintilian, "that the practice which I remember to have been employed by
my own teachers was any thing but useless. They were accustomed to
divide the boys into classes, and they set us to speak in the order of
our powers; every one taking his turn according to his proficiency. Our
performances were duly estimated; and prodigious were the struggles
which we had for victory. To be the head of one's class was considered
the most glorious thing conceivable. But the decision was not made once
for all. The next month brought the vanquished an opportunity of
renewing the contest. He who had been victorious in the first encounter
was not led by success to relax his efforts, and a feeling of vexation
impelled the vanquished to do away with the disgrace of defeat. This
practice, I am sure, supplied a keener stimulus to learning than did all
the exhortations of our teachers, the care of our tutors, and the wishes
of our parents." Nor did the schoolmaster trust to emulation alone. The
third choice of the famous Winchester line, "Either learn, or go: there
is yet another choice--to be flogged," was liberally employed. Horace
celebrates his old schoolmaster as a "man of many blows," and another
distinguished pupil of this teacher, the Busby or Keate of antiquity,
has specified the weapons which he employed, the ferule and the thong.
The thong is the familiar "tawse" of schools north of the Border. The
ferule was a name given both to the bamboo and to the yellow cane, which
grew plentifully both in the islands of the Greek Archipelago and in
Southern Italy, as notably at Cannae in Apulia, where it gave a name to
the scene of the great battle. The _virga_ was also used, a rod
commonly of birch, a tree the educational use of which had been already
discovered. The walls of Pompeii indeed show that the practice of Eton
is truly classical down to its details.

As to the advantage of the practice opinions were divided. One
enthusiastic advocate goes so far as to say that the Greek word for a
cane signifies by derivation, "the sharpener of the young" (_narthex,
nearous thegein_), but the best authorities were against it. Seneca is
indignant with the savage who will "butcher" a young learner because he
hesitates at a word--a venial fault indeed, one would think, when we
remember what must have been the aspect of a Roman book, written as it
was in capitals, almost without stops, and with little or no distinction
between the words. And Quintilian is equally decided, though he allows
that flogging was an "institution."

As to holidays the practice of the Roman schools probably resembled that
which prevails in the Scotch Universities, though with a less
magnificent length of vacation. Every one had a holiday on the "days of
Saturn" (a festival beginning on the seventeenth of December), and the
schoolboys had one of their own on the "days of Minerva," which fell in
the latter half of March; but the "long vacation" was in the summer.
Horace speaks of lads carrying their fees to school on the fifteenth of
the month for eight months in the year (if this interpretation of a
doubtful passage is correct). Perhaps as this was a country school the
holidays were made longer than usual, to let the scholars take their
part in the harvest, which as including the vintage would not be over
till somewhat late in the autumn. We find Martial, however, imploring a
schoolmaster to remember that the heat of July was not favorable to
learning, and suggesting that he should abdicate his seat till the
fifteenth of October brought a season more convenient for study. Rome
indeed was probably deserted in the later summer and autumn by the
wealthier class, who were doubtless disposed to agree in the poet's
remark, a remark to which the idlest schoolboy will forgive its Latin
for the sake of its admirable sentiment:

     "Aestate pueri si valent satis discunt." "In summer boys learn
     enough, if they keep their health."

Something, perhaps, may be said of the teachers, into whose hands the
boys of Rome were committed. We have a little book, of not more than
twoscore pages in all, which gives us "lives of illustrious
schoolmasters;" and from which we may glean a few facts. The first
business of a schoolmaster was to teach grammar, and grammar Rome owed,
as she owed most of her knowledge, to a Greek, a certain Crates, who
coming as ambassador from one of the kings of Asia Minor, broke his leg
while walking in the ill-paved streets of Rome, and occupied his leisure
by giving lectures at his house. Most of the early teachers were Greeks.
Catulus bought a Greek slave for somewhat more than fifteen hundred
pounds, and giving him his freedom set him up as a schoolmaster; another
of the same nation received a salary of between three and four hundred
pounds, his patron taking and probably making a considerable profit out
of the pupils' fees. Orbilius, the man of blows, was probably of Greek
descent. He had been first a beadle, then a trumpeter, then a trooper in
his youth, and came to Rome in the year in which Cicero was consul. He
seems to have been as severe on the parents of his pupils as he was in
another way on the lads themselves, for he wrote a book in which he
exposed their meanness and ingratitude. His troubles, however, did not
prevent him living to the great age of one hundred and three. The author
of the little book about schoolmasters had seen his statue in his native
town. It was a marble figure, in a sitting posture, with two writing
desks beside it. The favorite authors of Orbilius, who was of the
old-fashioned school, were, as has been said, the early dramatists.
Caecilius, a younger man, to whom Atticus the friend and correspondent
of Cicero gave his freedom, lectured on Virgil, with whom, as he was
intimate with one of Virgil's associates, he probably had some
acquaintance. A certain Flaccus had the credit of having first invented
prizes. He used to pit lads of equal age against each other, supplying
not only a subject on which to write, but a prize for the victor. This
was commonly some handsome or rare old book. Augustus made him tutor to
his grandsons, giving him a salary of eight hundred pounds per annum.
Twenty years later, a fashionable schoolmaster is said to have made
between three and four thousands.

These schoolmasters were also sometimes teachers of eloquence, lecturing
to men. One Gnipho, for instance, is mentioned among them, as having
held his classes in the house of Julius Caesar (Caesar was left an
orphan at fifteen); and afterwards, when his distinguished pupil was
grown up, in his own. But Cicero, when he was praetor, and at the very
height of his fame, is said to have attended his lectures. This was the
year in which he delivered the very finest of his non-political
speeches, his defence of Cluentius. He must have been a very clever
teacher from whom so great an orator hoped to learn something.

These teachers of eloquence were what we may call the "Professors" of
Rome. A lad had commonly "finished his education" when he put on the
"man's gown;" but if he thought of political life, of becoming a
statesman, and taking office in the commonwealth, he had much yet to
learn. He had to make himself a lawyer and an orator. Law he learned by
attaching himself, by becoming the pupil, as we should say, of some
great man that was famed for his knowledge. Cicero relates to us his own
experience: "My father introduced me to the Augur Scaevola; and the
result was that, as far as possible and permissible, I never left the
old man's side. Thus I committed to memory many a learned argument of
his, many a terse and clever maxim, while I sought to add to my own
knowledge from his stores of special learning. When the Augur died I
betook myself to the Pontiff of the same name and family." Elsewhere we
have a picture of this second Scaevola and his pupils. "Though he did
not undertake to give instruction to any one, yet he practically taught
those who were anxious to listen to him by allowing them to hear his
answers to those who consulted him." These consultations took place
either in the Forum or at his own house. In the Forum the great lawyer
indicated that clients were at liberty to approach by walking across the
open space from corner to corner. The train of young Romans would then
follow his steps, just as the students follow the physician or the
surgeon through the wards of a hospital. When he gave audience at home
they would stand by his chair. It must be remembered that the great man
took no payment either from client or from pupil.

But the young Roman had not only to learn law, he must also learn how to
speak-learn, as far as such a thing can be learned, how to be eloquent.
What we in this country call the career of the public man was there
called the career of the orator. With us it is much a matter of chance
whether a man can speak or not. We have had statesmen who wielded all
the power that one man ever can wield in this country who had no sort of
eloquence. We have had others who had this gift in the highest degree,
but never reached even one of the lower offices in the government.
Sometimes a young politician will go to a professional teacher to get
cured of some defect or trick of speech; but that such teaching is part
of the necessary training of a statesman is an idea quite strange to us.
A Roman received it as a matter of course. Of course, like other things
at Rome, it made its way but slowly. Just before the middle of the
second century b.c. the Senate resolved: "Seeing that mention has been
made of certain philosophers and rhetoricians, let Pomponius the praetor
see to it, as he shall hold it to be for the public good, and for his
own honor, that none such be found at Rome." Early in the first century
the censors issued an edict forbidding certain Latin rhetoricians to
teach. One of these censors was the great orator Crassus, greatest of
all the predecessors of Cicero. Cicero puts into his mouth an apology
for this proceeding: "I was not actuated by any hostility to learning or
culture. These Latin rhetoricians were mere ignorant pretenders,
inefficient imitators of their Greek rivals, from whom the Roman youth
were not likely to learn any thing but impudence." In spite of the
censors, however, and in spite of the fashionable belief in Rome that
what was Greek must be far better than what was of native growth, the
Latin teachers rose into favor. "I remember," says Cicero, "when we were
boys, one Lucius Plotinus, who was the first to teach eloquence in
Latin; how, when the studious youth of the capital crowded to hear him
it vexed me much, that I was not permitted to attend him. I was checked,
however, by the opinion of learned men, who held that in this matter the
abilities of the young were more profitably nourished by exercises in
Greek." We are reminded of our own Doctor Johnson, who declared that
he would not disgrace the walls of Westminster Abbey by an epitaph in

The chief part of the instruction which these teachers gave was to
propose imaginary cases involving some legal difficulty for their pupils
to discuss. One or two of these cases may be given.

One day in summer a party of young men from Rome made an excursion to
Ostia, and coming down to the seashore found there some fishermen who
were about to draw in a net. With these they made a bargain that they
should have the draught for a certain sum. The money was paid. When the
net was drawn up no fish were found in it, but a hamper sewn with thread
of gold. The buyers allege this to be theirs as the draught of the net.
The fishermen claim it as not being fish. To whom did it belong?

Certain slave-dealers, landing a cargo of slaves at Brundisium, and
having with them a very beautiful boy of great value, fearing lest the
custom-house officers should lay hands upon him, put upon him the
_bulla_ and the purple-edged robe that free-born lads were wont to wear.
The deceit was not discovered. But when they came to Rome, and the
matter was talked of, it was maintained that the boy was really free,
seeing that it was his master who of his own free will had given him the
token of freedom.

I shall conclude this chapter with a very pretty picture, which a Roman
poet draws of the life which he led with his teacher in the days when he
was first entering upon manhood. "When first my timid steps lost the
guardianship of the purple stripe, and the _bulla_ of the boy was hung
up for offering to the quaint household gods; when flattering comrades
came about me, and I might cast my eyes without rebuke over the whole
busy street under the shelter of the yet unsullied gown; in the days
when the path is doubtful, and the wanderer knowing naught of life comes
with bewildered soul to the many-branching roads--then I made myself
your adopted child. You took at once into the bosom of another Socrates
my tender years; your rule, applied with skillful disguise, straightens
each perverse habit; nature is molded by reason, and struggles to be
subdued, and assumes under your hands its plastic lineaments. Ay, well I
mind how I would wear away long summer suns with you, and pluck with you
the bloom of night's first hours. One work we had, one certain time for
rest, and at one modest table unbent from sterner thoughts."

It accords with this charming picture to be told that the pupil, dying
in youth, left his property to his old tutor, and that the latter handed
it over to the kinsfolk of the deceased, keeping for himself the books



In the last chapter we had no particular "Roman Boy" in view; but our
"Roman Undergraduate" will be a real person, Cicero's son. It will be
interesting to trace the notices which we find of him in his father's
letters and books. "You will be glad to hear," he writes in one of his
earliest letters to Atticus, "that a little son has been born to me, and
that Terentia is doing well." From time to time we hear of him, and
always spoken of in terms of the tenderest affection. He is his
"honey-sweet Cicero," his "little philosopher." When the father is in
exile the son's name is put on the address of his letters along with
those of his mother and sister. His prospects are the subject of most
anxious thought. Terentia, who had a considerable fortune of her own,
proposes to sell an estate. "Pray think," he writes, "what will happen
to us. If the same ill fortune shall continue to pursue us, what will
happen to our unhappy boy? I cannot write any more. My tears fairly
overpower me; I should be sorry to make you as sad as myself. I will say
so much. If my friends do their duty by me, I shall not want for money;
if they do not, your means will not save me. I do implore you, by all
our troubles, do not ruin the poor lad. Indeed he is ruined enough
already. If he has only something to keep him from want, then modest
merit and moderate good fortune will give him all he wants."

Appointed to the government of Cilicia, Cicero takes his son with him
into the province. When he starts on his campaign against the mountain
tribes, the boy and his cousin, young Quintus, are sent to the court of
Deiotarus, one of the native princes of Galatia. "The young Ciceros," he
writes to Atticus, "are with Deiotarus. If need be, they will be taken
to Rhodes." Atticus, it may be mentioned, was uncle to Quintus, and
might be anxious about him. The need was probably the case of the old
prince himself marching to Cicero's help. This he had promised to do,
but the campaign was finished without him. This was in the year 51 B.C.,
and Marcus was nearly fourteen years old, his cousin being his senior by
about two years. "They are very fond of each other," writes Cicero;
"they learn, they amuse themselves together, but one wants the rein, the
other the spur." (Doubtless the latter is the writer's son.) "I am very
fond of Dionysius their teacher: the lads say that he is apt to get
furiously angry. But a more learned and more blameless man there does
not live." A year or so afterwards he seems to have thought less
favorably of him. "I let him go reluctantly when I thought of him as the
tutor of the two lads, but quite willingly as an ungrateful fellow." In
B.C. 49, when the lad was about half through his sixteenth year, Cicero
"gave him his _toga_." To take the _toga_, that is to exchange the gown
of the boy with its stripe of purple for the plain white gown of the
citizen, marked the beginning of independence (though indeed a Roman's
son was even in mature manhood under his father's control). The ceremony
took place at Arpinum, much to the delight of the inhabitants, who felt
of course the greatest pride and interest in their famous
fellow-townsman. But it was a sad time. "There and every where as I
journeyed I saw sorrow and dismay. The prospect of this vast trouble is
sad indeed." The "vast trouble" was the civil war between Caesar and
Pompey. This indeed had already broken out. While Cicero was
entertaining his kinsfolk and friends at Arpinum, Pompey was preparing
to fly from Italy. The war was probably not an unmixed evil to a lad who
was just beginning to think himself a man. He hastened across the
Adriatic to join his father's friend, and was appointed to the command
of a squadron of auxiliary cavalry. His maneuvers were probably assisted
by some veteran subordinate; but his I seat on horseback, his skill with
the javelin, and his general soldierly qualities were highly praised
both by his chief and by his comrades. After the defeat at Pharsalia he
waited with his father at Brundisium till a kind letter from Caesar
assured him of pardon. In B.C. 46 he was made aedile at Arpinum, his
cousin being appointed at the same time. The next year he would have
gladly resumed his military career. Fighting was going on in Spain,
where the sons of Pompey were holding out against the forces of Caesar;
and the young Cicero, who was probably not very particular on which side
he drew his sword, was ready to take service against the son of his old
general. Neither the cause nor the career pleased the father, and the
son's wish was overruled, just as an English lad has sometimes to give
up the unremunerative profession of arms, when there is a living in the
family, or an opening in a bank, or a promising connection with a firm
of solicitors. It was settled that he should take up his residence at
Athens, which was then the university of Rome, not indeed exactly in the
sense in which Oxford and Cambridge are the universities of England, but
still a place of liberal culture, where the sons of wealthy Roman
families were accustomed to complete their education. Four-and-twenty
years before the father had paid a long visit to the city, partly for
study's sake. "In those days," he writes, "I was emaciated and feeble to
a degree; my neck was long and thin; a habit of body and a figure that
are thought to indicate much danger to life, if aggravated by a
laborious profession and constant straining of the voice. My friends
thought the more of this, because in those days I was accustomed to
deliver all my speeches without any relaxation of effort, without any
variety, at the very top of my voice, and with most abundant
gesticulation. At first, when friends and physicians advised me to
abandon advocacy for a while, I felt that I would sooner run any risk
than relinquish the hope of oratorical distinction. Afterwards I
reflected that by learning to moderate and regulate my voice, and
changing my style of speaking, I might both avert the danger that
threatened my health and also acquire a more self-controlled manner. It
was a resolve to break through the habits I had formed that induced me
to travel to the East. I had practiced for two years, and my name had
become well known when I left Rome. Coming to Athens I spent six months
with Antiochus, the most distinguished and learned philosopher of the
Old Academy, than whom there was no wiser or more famous teacher. At the
same time I practiced myself diligently under the care of Demetrius
Syrus, an old and not undistinguished master of eloquence." To Athens,
then, Cicero always looked back with affection. He hears, for instance,
that Appius is going to build a portico at Eleusis. "Will you think me a
fool," he writes to Atticus, "if I do the same at the Academy? 'I think
so,' you will say. But I love Athens, the very place, much; and I shall
be glad to have some memorial of me there."

The new undergraduate, as we should call him, was to have a liberal
allowance. "He shall have as much as Publilius, as much as Lentulus the
Flamen, allow their sons." It would be interesting to know the amount,
but unhappily this cannot be recovered. All that we know is that the
richest young men in Rome were not to have more. "I will guarantee,"
writes this liberal father, "that none of the three young men [whom he
names] who, I hear, will be at Athens at the same time shall live at
more expense than he will be able to do on those rents." These "rents"
were the incomings from certain properties at Rome. "Only," he adds, "I
do not think he will want a horse."

We know something of the university buildings, so to speak, which the
young Cicero found at Athens. "To seek for truth among the groves of
Academus" is the phrase by which a more famous contemporary, the poet
Horace, describes his studies at Athens. He probably uses it generally
to express philosophical pursuits; taken strictly it would mean that he
attached himself to the sage whose pride it was to be the successor of
Plato. Academus was a local hero, connected with the legend of Theseus
and Helen. Near his grove, or sacred inclosure, which adjoined the road
to Eleusis, Plato had bought a garden. It was but a small spot,
purchased for a sum which maybe represented by about three or four
hundred pounds of our money, but it had been enlarged by the liberality
of successive benefactors. This then was one famous lecture-room.
Another was the Lyceum. Here Aristotle had taught, and after Aristotle,
Theophrastus, and after him, a long succession of thinkers of the same
school. A third institution of the same kind was the garden in which
Epicurus had assembled his disciples, and which he bequeathed to
trustees for their benefit and the benefit of their successors for all

To a Roman of the nobler sort these gardens and buildings must have been
as holy places. It was with these rather than with the temples of gods
that he connected what there was of goodness and purity in his life. To
worship Jupiter or Romulus did not make him a better man, though it
might be his necessary duty as a citizen; his real religion, as we
understand it, was his reverence for Plato or Zeno. Athens to him was
not only what Athens, but what the Holy Land is to us. Cicero describes
something of this feeling in the following passage: "We had been
listening to Antiochus (a teacher of the Academics) in the school called
the Ptolemaeus, where he was wont to lecture. Marcus Piso was with me,
and my brother Quintus, and Atticus, and Lucius Cicero, by relationship
a cousin, in affection a brother. We agreed among ourselves to finish
our afternoon walk in the Academy, chiefly because that place was sure
not to be crowded at that hour. At the proper time we met at Piso's
house; thence, occupied with varied talk, we traversed the six furlongs
that lie between the Double Gate and the Academy; and entering the walls
which can give such good reason for their fame, found there the solitude
which we sought. 'Is it,' said Piso, 'by some natural instinct or
through some delusion that when we see the very spots where famous men
have lived we are far more touched than when we hear of the things that
they have done, or read something that they have written? It is thus
that I am affected at this moment. I think of Plato, who was, we are
told, the first who lectured in this place; his little garden which lies
there close at hand seems not only to remind me of him, but actually to
bring him up before my eyes. Here spake Speusippus, here Xenocrates,
here his disciple Polemo--to Polemo indeed belonged this seat which we
have before us.'" This was the Polemo who had been converted, as we
should say, when, bursting in after a night of revel upon a lecture in
which Xenocrates was discoursing of temperance, he listened to such
purpose that from that moment he became a changed man. Then Atticus
describes how he found the same charms of association in the garden
which had belonged to his own master, Epicurus; while Quintus Cicero
supplies what we should call the classical element by speaking of
Sophocles and the grove of Colonus, still musical, it seems, with the
same song of the nightingale which had charmed the ear of the poet more
than three centuries before.

One or other, perhaps more than one, of these famous places the young
Cicero frequented. He probably witnessed, he possibly took part (for
strangers were admitted to membership) in, the celebrations with which
the college of Athenian youths (Ephebi) commemorated the glories of
their city, the procession to the tombs of those who died at Marathon,
and the boat-races in the Bay of Salamis. That he gave his father some
trouble is only too certain. His private tutor in rhetoric, as we should
call him, was a certain Gorgias, a man of ability, and a writer of some
note, but a worthless and profligate fellow. Cicero peremptorily ordered
his son to dismiss him; and the young man seems to have obeyed and
reformed. We may hope at least that the repentance which he expresses
for his misdoings in a letter to Tiro, his father's freedman, was
genuine. This is his picture of his life in the days of repentance and
soberness: "I am on terms of the closest intimacy with Cratippus, living
with him more as a son than as a pupil. Not only do I hear his lectures
with delight, but I am greatly taken with the geniality which is
peculiar to the man. I spend whole days with him, and often no small
part of the night; for I beg him to dine with me as often as he can.
This has become so habitual with him that he often looks in upon us at
dinner when we are not expecting him; he lays aside the sternness of the
philosopher and jokes with us in the pleasantest fashion. As for
Bruttius, he never leaves me; frugal and strict as is his life, he is
yet a most delightful companion. For we do not entirely banish mirth
from our daily studies in philology. I have hired a lodging for him
close by; and do my best to help his poverty out of my own narrow means.
I have begun to practice Greek declamation with Cassius, and wish to
have a Latin course with Bruttius. My friends and daily companions are
the pupils whom Cratippus brought with him from Mitylene, well-read men,
of whom he highly approves. I also see much of Epicrates, who is the
first man at Athens." After some pleasant words to Tiro, who had bought
a farm, and whom he expects to find turned into a farmer, bringing
stores, holding consultations with his bailiff, and putting by
fruit-seeds in his pocket from dessert, he says, "I should be glad if
you would send me as quickly as possible a copyist, a Greek by
preference. I have to spend much pains on writing out my notes."

A short time before one of Cicero's friends had sent a satisfactory
report of the young man's behavior to his father. "I found your son
devoted to the most laudable studies and enjoying an excellent
reputation for steadiness. Don't fancy, my dear Cicero, that I say this
to please you; there is not in Athens a more lovable young man than your
son, nor one more devoted to those high pursuits in which you would have
him interested."

Among the contemporaries of the young Cicero was, as has been said, the
poet Horace. His had been a more studious boyhood. He had not been taken
away from his books to serve as a cavalry officer under Pompey. In him
accordingly we see the regular course of the studies of a Roman lad.
"It was my lot," he says, "to be bred up at Rome, and to be taught how
much the wrath of Achilles harmed the Greeks. In other words, he had
read his Homer, just as an English boy reads him at Eton or Harrow.
"Kind Athens," he goes on, "added a little more learning, to the end
that I might be able to distinguish right from wrong, and to seek for
truth amongst the groves of Academus." And just in the same way the
English youth goes on to read philosophy at Oxford.

The studies of the two young men were interrupted by the same cause, the
civil war which followed the death of Caesar. They took service with
Brutus, both having the same rank, that of military tribune, a command
answering more or less nearly to that of colonel in our own army. It
was, however, mainly an ornamental rank, being bestowed sometimes by
favor of the general in command, sometimes by a popular vote. The young
Cicero indeed had already served, and he now distinguished himself
greatly, winning some considerable successes in the command of the
cavalry which Brutus afterwards gave him. When the hopes of the party
were crushed at Phillippi, he joined the younger Pompey in Sicily; but
took an opportunity of an amnesty which was offered four years
afterwards to return to Rome. Here he must have found his old
fellow-student, who had also reconciled himself to the victorious party.
He was made one of the college of augurs, and also a commissioner of the
mint, and in B.C. 30 he had the honour of sharing the consulship with
Augustus himself. It was to him that the dispatch announcing the final
defeat and death of Antony was delivered; and it fell to him to execute
the decree which ordered the destruction of all the statues of the
fallen chief. "Then," says Plutarch, "by the ordering of heaven the
punishment of Antony was inflicted at last by the house of Cicero." His
time of office ended, he went as Governor to Asia, or, according to some
accounts, to Syria; and thus disappears from our view.

Pliny the Elder tells us that he was a drunkard, sarcastically observing
that he sought to avenge himself on Antony by robbing him of the
reputation which he had before enjoyed of being the hardest drinker of
the time. As the story which he tells of the younger Cicero being able
to swallow twelve pints of wine at a draught is clearly incredible,
perhaps we may disbelieve the whole, and with it the other anecdote,
that he threw a cup at the head of Marcus Agrippa, son-in-law to the
Emperor, and after him the greatest man in Rome.



In November 82 B.C., Cornelius Sulla became absolute master of Rome. It
is not part of my purpose to give a history of this man. He was a great
soldier who had won victories in Africa and Asia over the enemies of
Rome, and in Italy itself over the "allies," as they were called, that
is the Italian nations, who at various times had made treaties with
Rome, and who in the early part of the first century B.C. rebelled
against her, thinking that they were robbed of the rights and privileges
which belonged to them. And he was the leader of the party of the
nobles, just as Marius was the leader of the party of the people. Once
before he had made himself supreme in the capital; and then he had used
his power with moderation. But he was called away to carry on the war in
Asia against Mithridates, the great King of Pontus; and his enemies had
got the upper hand, and had used the opportunity most cruelly. A
terrible list of victims, called the "proscription," because it was
posted up in the forum, was prepared. Fifty senators and a thousand
knights (peers and gentlemen we should call them) were put to death,
almost all of them without any kind of trial. Sulla himself was
outlawed. But he had an army which he had led to victory and had
enriched with prize-money, and which was entirely devoted to him; and he
was not inclined to let his enemies triumph. He hastened back to Italy,
and landed in the spring of 83. In the November of the following year,
just outside the walls of Rome, was fought the final battle of the war.

The opposing army was absolutely destroyed and Sulla had every thing at
his mercy. He waited for a few days outside the city till the Senate had
passed a decree giving him absolute power to change the laws, to fill
the offices of State, and to deal with the lives and properties of
citizens as it might please him. This done, he entered Rome. Then came
another proscription. The chief of his enemies, Marius. was gone. He had
died, tormented it was said by remorse, seventeen days after he had
reached the crowning glory, promised him in his youth by an oracle, and
had been made consul for the seventh time. The conqueror had to content
himself with the same vengeance that Charles II. in our own country
exacted from the remains of Cromwell. The ashes of Marius were taken out
of his tomb on the Flaminian Way, the great North Road of Rome, and were
thrown into the Anio. But many of his friends and partisans survived,
and these were slaughtered without mercy. Eighty names were put on the
fatal list on the first day, two hundred and twenty on the second, and
as many more on the third. With the deaths of many of these victims
politics had nothing to do. Sulla allowed his friends and favorites to
put into the list the names of men against whom they happened to bear a
grudge, or whose property they coveted. No one knew who might be the
next to fall. Even Sulla's own partisans were alarmed. A young senator,
Caius Metellus, one of a family which was strongly attached to Sulla and
with which he was connected by marriage, had the courage to ask him in
public when there would be an end to this terrible state of things.
"We do not beg you," he said, "to remit the punishment of those whom you
have made up your mind to remove; we do beg you to do away with the
anxiety of those whom you have resolved to spare." "I am not yet
certain," answered Sulla, "whom I shall spare." "Then at least," said
Metellus, "you can tell us whom you mean to punish." "That I will do,"
replied the tyrant. It was indeed a terrible time that followed,
Plutarch thus describes it: "He denounced against any who might shelter
or save the life of a proscribed person the punishment of death for his
humanity. He made no exemption for mother, or son, or parent. The
murderers received a payment of two talents (about L470) for each
victim; it was paid to a slave who killed his master, to a son who
killed his father. The most monstrous thing of all, it was thought, was
that the sons and grandsons of the proscribed were declared to be
legally infamous and that their property was confiscated. Nor was it
only in Rome but in all the cities of Italy that the proscription was
carried out. There was not a single temple, not a house but was polluted
with blood. Husbands were slaughtered in the arms of their wives, and
sons in the arms of their mothers. And the number of those who fell
victims to anger and hatred was but small in comparison with the number
who were put out of the way for the sake of their property. The
murderers might well have said: 'His fine mansion has been the death of
this man; or his gardens, or his baths.' Quintus Aurelius, a peaceable
citizen, who had had only this share in the late civil troubles, that he
had felt for the misfortunes of others, coming into the forum, read the
list of the proscribed and found in it his own name. 'Unfortunate that I
am,' he said, 'it is my farm at Alba that has been my ruin;' and he had
not gone many steps before he was cut down by a man that was following
him. Lucius Catiline's conduct was especially wicked. He had murdered
his own brother. This was before the proscription began. He went to
Sulla and begged that the name might be put in the list as if the man
were still alive; and it was so put. His gratitude to Sulla was shown by
his killing one Marius, who belonged to the opposite faction, and
bringing his head to Sulla as he sat in the forum. (This Marius was a
kinsman of the great democratic leader, and was one of the most popular
men in Rome.) This done, he washed his hands in the holy water-basin of
the temple of Apollo."

Forty senators and sixteen hundred knights, and more than as many men of
obscure station, are said to have perished. At last, on the first of
June, 81, the list was closed. Still the reign of terror was not yet at
an end, as the strange story which I shall now relate will amply prove.
To look into the details of a particular case makes us better able to
imagine what it really was to live at Rome in the days of the Dictator
than to read many pages of general description. The story is all the
more impressive because the events happened after order had been
restored and things were supposed to be proceeding in their regular

The proscription came to an end, as has been said, in the early summer
of 81. In the autumn of the same year a certain Sextus Roscius was
murdered in the streets of Rome as he was returning home from dinner.
Roscius was a native of Ameria, a little town of Etruria, between fifty
and sixty miles north of Rome. He was a wealthy man, possessed, it
would seem, of some taste and culture, and an intimate friend of some of
the noblest families at Rome. In politics he belonged to the party of
Sulla, to which indeed in its less prosperous days he had rendered good
service. Since its restoration to power he had lived much at Rome,
evidently considering himself, as indeed he had the right to do, to be
perfectly safe from any danger of proscription. But he was wealthy, and
he had among his own kinsfolk enemies who desired and who would profit
by his death. One of these, a certain Titus Roscius, surnamed Magnus,
was at the time of the murder residing at Rome; the other, who was known
as Capito, was at home at Ameria. The murder was committed about seven
o'clock in the evening. A messenger immediately left Rome with the news,
and made such haste to Ameria that he reached the place before dawn the
next day. Strangely enough he went to the house not of the murdered
man's son, who was living at Ameria in charge of his farms, but of the
hostile kinsman Capito. Three days afterwards Capito and Magnus made
their way to the camp of Sulla (he was besieging Volaterrae, another
Etrurian town). They had an interview with one Chrysogonus, a Greek
freedman of the Dictator, and explained to him how rich a prey they
could secure if he would only help them. The deceased, it seems, had
left a large sum of money and thirteen valuable farms, nearly all of
them running down to the Tiber. And the son, the lawful heir, could
easily be got out of the way. Roscius was a well-known and a popular
man, yet no outcry had followed his disappearance. With the son, a
simple farmer, ignorant of affairs, and wholly unknown to Rome, it would
be easy to deal. Ultimately the three entered into alliance. The
proscription was to be revived, so to speak, to take in this particular
case, and the name of Roscius was included in the list of the condemned.
All his wealth was treated as the property of the proscribed, and was
sold by auction. It was purchased by Chrysogonus. The real value was
between fifty and sixty thousand pounds. The price paid was something
less than eighteen pounds. Three of the finest farms were at once handed
over to Capito as his share of the spoil. Magnus acted as the agent of
Chrysogonus for the remainder. He took possession of the house in which
Roscius the younger was living, laid his hands on all its contents,
among which was a considerable sum of money, and drove out the
unfortunate young man in an absolutely penniless condition.

These proceedings excited great indignation at Ameria. The local senate
passed a resolution to the effect that the committee of ten should
proceed to Sulla's camp and put him in possession of the facts, with the
object of removing the name of the father from the list of the
proscribed, and reinstating the son in his inheritance. The ten
proceeded accordingly to the camp, but Chrysogonus cajoled and
over-reached them. It was represented to them by persons of high
position that there was no need to trouble Sulla with the affair. The
name should be removed from the list; the property should be restored.
Capito, who was one of the ten, added his personal assurance to the same
effect, and the deputation, satisfied that their object had been
attained, returned to Ameria. There was of course no intention of
fulfilling the promises thus made. The first idea of the trio was to
deal with the son as they had dealt with the father. Some hint of this
purpose was conveyed to him, and he fled to Rome, where he was
hospitably entertained by Caecilia, a wealthy lady of the family of
Metellus, and therefore related to Sulla's wife, who indeed bore the
same name. As he was now safe from violence, it was resolved to take the
audacious step of accusing him of the murder of his father. Outrageous
as it seems, the plan held out some promise of success. The accused was
a man of singularly reserved character, rough and boorish in manner, and
with no thoughts beyond the rustic occupations to which his life was
devoted. His father, on the other hand, had been a man of genial temper,
who spent much of his time among the polished circles of the Capitol. If
there was no positive estrangement between them, there was a great
discrepancy of tastes, and probably very little intercourse. This it
would be easy to exaggerate into something like a plausible charge,
especially under the circumstances of the case. It was beyond doubt that
many murders closely resembling the murder of Roscius had been committed
during the past year, committed some of them by sons. This was the
first time that an alleged culprit was brought to trial, and it was
probable that the jury would be inclined to severity. In any case, and
whatever the evidence, it was hoped that the verdict would not be such
as to imply the guilt of a favorite of Sulla. He was the person who
would profit most by the condemnation of the accused, and it was hoped
that he would take the necessary means to secure it.

The friends of the father were satisfied of the innocence of the son,
and they exerted themselves to secure for him an efficient defense.
Sulla was so much dreaded that none of the more conspicuous orators of
the time were willing to undertake the task. Cicero, however, had the
courage which they wanted; and his speech, probably little altered from
the form in which he delivered it, remains.

It was a horrible crime of which his client was accused, and the
punishment the most awful known to the Roman law. The face of the guilty
man was covered with a wolf's skin, as being one who was not worthy to
see the light; shoes of wood were put upon his feet that they might not
touch the earth. He was then thrust into a sack of leather, and with him
four animals which were supposed to symbolize all that was most hideous
and depraved--the dog, a common object of contempt; the cock, proverbial
for its want of all filial affection; the poisonous viper; and the ape,
which was the base imitation of man. In this strange company he was
thrown into the nearest river or sea.

Cicero begins by explaining why he had undertaken a case which his
elders and betters had declined. It was not because he was bolder, but
because he was more insignificant than they, and could speak with
impunity when they could not choose but be silent. He then gives the
facts in detail, the murder of Roscius, the seizure of his property, the
fruitless deputation to Sulla, the flight of the son to Rome, and the
audacious resolve of his enemies to indict him for parricide. They had
murdered his father, they had robbed him of his patrimony, and now they
accused him--of what crime? Surely of nothing else than the crime of
having escaped their attack. The thing reminded him of the story of
Fimbria and Scaevola. Fimbria, an absolute madman, as was allowed by all
who were not mad themselves, got some ruffian to stab Scaevola at the
funeral of Marius. He was stabbed but not killed. When Fimbria found
that he was likely to live, he indicted him. For what do you indict a
man so blameless? asked some one. For what? for not allowing himself to
be stabbed to the heart. This is exactly why the confederates have
indicted Roscius. His crime has been of escaping from their hands.
"Roscius killed his father," you say. "A young man, I suppose, led away
by worthless companions." Not so; he is more than forty years of age.
"Extravagance and debt drove him to it." No; you say yourself that he
never goes to an entertainment, and he certainly owes nothing. "Well,"
you say, "his father disliked him." Why did he dislike him? "That," you
reply, "I cannot say; but he certainly kept one son with him, and left
this Roscius to look after his farms." Surely this is a strange
punishment, to give him the charge of so fine an estate. "But," you
repeat, "he kept his other with him." "Now listen to me," cries Cicero,
turning with savage sarcasm to the prosecutor, "Providence never allowed
you to know who your father was. Still you have read books. Do you
remember in Caecilius' play how the father had two sons, and kept one
with him and left the other in the country? and do you remember that the
one who lived with him was not really his son, the other was true-born,
and yet it was the true-born who lived in the country? And is it such a
disgrace to live in the country? It is well that you did not live in old
times when they took a Dictator from the plow; when the men who made
Rome what it is cultivated their own land, but did not covet the land of
others. 'Ah! but,' you say, 'the father intended to disinherit him.'
Why? 'I cannot say.' Did he disinherit him? 'No, he did not.' Who
stopped him? 'Well, he was thinking of it.' To whom did he say so? 'To
no one.' Surely," cries Cicero, "this is to abuse the laws and justice
and your dignity in the basest and most wanton way, to make charges
which he not only cannot but does not even attempt to establish."

Shortly after comes a lively description of the prosecutor's demeanor.
"It was really worth while, if you observed, gentlemen, the man's utter
indifference as he was conducting his case. I take it that when he saw
who was sitting on these benches, he asked whether such an one or such
an one was engaged for the defense. Of me he never thought, for I had
never spoken before in a criminal case. When he found that none of the
usual speakers were concerned in it, he became so careless that when the
humor took him, he sat down, then walked about, sometimes called a
servant, to give him orders, I suppose, for dinner, and certainly
treated this court in which you are sitting as if it were an absolute
solitude. At last he brought his speech to an end. I rose to reply. He
could be seen to breathe again that it was I and no one else. I noticed,
gentlemen, that he continued to laugh and be inattentive till I
mentioned Chrysogonus. As soon as I got to him my friend roused himself
and was evidently astonished. I saw what had touched him, and repeated
the name a second time, and a third. From that time men have never
ceased to run briskly backwards and forwards, to tell Chrysogonus, I
suppose, that there was some one in the country who ventured to oppose
his pleasure, that the case was being pleaded otherwise than as he
imagined it would be; that the sham sale of goods was being exposed, the
confederacy grievously handled, his popularity and power disregarded,
that the people were giving their whole attention to the cause, and that
the common opinion was that the transaction generally was disgraceful.

"Then," continued the speaker, "this charge of parricide, so monstrous
is the crime, must have the very strongest evidence to support it. There
was a case at Tarracina of a man being found murdered in the chamber
where he was sleeping, his two sons, both young men, being in the same
room. No one could be found, either slave or free man, who seemed likely
to have done the deed; and as the two sons, grown up as they were,
declared that they knew nothing about it, they were indicted for
parricide. What could be so suspicious? Suspicious, do I say? Nay,
worse. That neither knew any thing about it? That any one had ventured
into that chamber at the very time when there were in it two young men
who would certainly perceive and defeat the attempt? Yet, because it was
proved to the jury that the young men had been found fast asleep, with
the door wide open, they were acquitted. It was thought incredible that
men who had just committed so monstrous a crime could possibly sleep.
Why, Solon, the wisest of all legislators, drawing up his code of laws,
provided no punishment for this crime; and when he was asked the reason
replied that he believed that no one would ever commit it. To provide a
punishment would be to suggest rather than prevent. Our own ancestors
provided indeed a punishment, but it was of the strangest kind, showing
how strange, how monstrous they thought the crime. And what evidence do
you bring forward? The man was not at Rome. That is proved. There-fore
he must have done it, if he did it at all, by the hands of others. Who
were these others? Were they free men or slaves? If they were free men
where did they come from, where live? How did he hire them? Where is
the proof? You haven't a shred of evidence, and yet you accuse him of
parricide. And if they were slaves, where, again I ask, are they? There
_were_ two slaves who saw the deed; but they belonged to the confederate
not to the accused. Why do you not produce them? Purely because they
would prove your guilt.

"It is there indeed that we find the real truth of the matter. It was
the maxim of a famous lawyer, Ask: _who profited by the deed_? I ask it
now. It was Magnus who profited. He was poor before, and now he is rich.
And then he was in Rome at the time of the murder; and he was familiar
with assassins. Remember too the strange speed with which he sent the
news to Ameria, and sent it, not to the son, as one might expect, but to
Capito his accomplice; for that he was an accomplice is evident enough.
What else could he be when he so cheated the deputation that went to
Sulla at Volaterrae?"

Cicero then turned to Chrysogonus, and attacked him with a boldness
which is surprising, when we remember how high he stood in the favor of
the absolute master of Rome, "See how he comes down from his fine
mansion on the Palatine. Yes, and he has for his own enjoyment a
delightful retreat in the suburbs, and many an estate besides, and not
one of them but is both handsome and conveniently near. His house is
crowded with ware of Corinth and Delos, among them that famous
self-acting cooking apparatus, which he lately bought at a price so high
that the passers-by, when they heard the clerk call out the highest bid,
supposed that it must be a farm which was being sold. And what
quantities, think you, he has of embossed plate, and coverlets of
purple, and pictures, and statues, and colored marbles! Such quantities,
I tell you, as scarce could be piled together in one mansion in a time
of tumult and rapine from many wealthy establishments. And his
household--why should I describe how many it numbers, and how varied are
its accomplishments? I do not speak of ordinary domestics, the cook, the
baker, the litter-bearer. Why, for the mere enjoyment of his ears he has
such a multitude of men that the whole neighborhood echoes again with
the daily music of singers, and harp-players, and flute-players, and
with the uproar of his nightly banquets. What daily expenses, what
extravagance, as you well know, gentlemen, there must be in such a life
as this! how costly must be these banquets! Creditable banquets, indeed,
held in such a house--a house, do I say, and not a manufactory of
wickedness, a place of entertainment for every kind of crime? And as for
the man himself--you see, gentlemen, how he bustles every where about
the forum, with his hair fashionably arranged and dripping with
perfumes; what a crowd of citizens, yes, of citizens, follow him; you
see how he looks down upon every one, thinks no one can be compared to
himself, fancies himself the one rich and powerful man in Rome?"

The jury seems to have caught the contagion of courage from the
advocate. They acquitted the accused. It is not known whether he ever
recovered his property. But as Sulla retired from power in the following
year, and died the year after, we may hope that the favorites and the
villains whom he had sheltered were compelled to disgorge some at least
of their gains.



Of all the base creatures who found a profit in the massacres and
plunderings which Sulla commanded or permitted, not one was baser than
Caius Verres. The crimes that he committed would be beyond our belief if
it were not for the fact that he never denied them. He betrayed his
friends, he perverted justice, he plundered a temple with as little
scruple as he plundered a private house, he murdered a citizen as boldly
as he murdered a foreigner; in fact, he was the most audacious, the most
cruel, the most shameless of men. And yet he rose to high office at home
and abroad, and had it not been for the courage, sagacity, and eloquence
of one man, he might have risen to the very highest. What Roman citizens
had sometimes, and Roman subjects, it is to be feared, very often to
endure may be seen from the picture which we are enabled to draw of a
_Roman magistrate_.

Roman politicians began public life as quaestors. (A quaestor was an
official who managed money matters for higher magistrates. Every
governor of a province had one or more quaestors under him. They were
elected at Rome, and their posts were assigned to them by lot.) Verres
was quaestor in Gaul and embezzled the public money; he was quaestor in
Cilicia with Dolabella, a like-minded governor, and diligently used his
opportunity. This time it was not money only, but works of art, on which
he laid his hands; and in these the great cities, whether in Asia or in
Europe, were still rich. The most audacious, perhaps, of these robberies
was perpetrated in the island of Delos. Delos was known all over the
world as the island of Apollo. The legend was that it was the birthplace
of the god. None of his shrines was more frequented or more famous.
Verres was indifferent to such considerations. He stripped the temple of
its finest statues, and loaded a merchant ship which he had hired with
the booty. But this time he was not lucky enough to secure it. The
islanders, though they had discovered the theft, did not, indeed,
venture to complain. They thought it was the doing of the governor, and
a governor, though his proceedings might be impeached after his term of
office, was not a person with whom it was safe to remonstrate. But a
terrible storm suddenly burst upon the island. The governor's departure
was delayed. To set sail in such weather was out of the question. The
sea was indeed so high that the town became scarcely habitable. Then
Verres' ship was wrecked, and the statues were found cast upon the
shore. The governor ordered them to be replaced in the temple, and the
storm subsided as suddenly as it had arisen.

On his return to Rome Dolabella was impeached for extortion. With
characteristic baseness Verres gave evidence against him, evidence so
convincing as to cause a verdict of guilty. But he thus secured his own
gains, and these he used so profusely in the purchase of votes that two
or three years afterwards he was elected praetor. The praetors performed
various functions which were assigned to them by lot. Chance, or it may
possibly have been contrivance, gave to Verres the most considerable of
them all. He was made "Praetor of the City;" that is, a judge before
whom a certain class of very important causes were tried. Of course he
showed himself scandalously unjust. One instance of his proceedings may

A certain Junius had made a contract for keeping the temple of Castor in
repair. When Verres came into office he had died, leaving a son under
age. There had been some neglect, due probably to the troubles of the
times, in seeing that the contracts had been duly executed, and the
Senate passed a resolution that Verres and one of his fellow-praetors
should see to the matter. The temple of Castor came under review like
the others, and Verres, knowing that the original contractor was dead,
inquired who was the responsible person. When he heard of the son under
age he recognized at once a golden opportunity. It was one of the maxims
which he had laid down for his own guidance, and which he had even been
wont to give out for the benefit of his friends, that much profit might
be made out of the property of wards. It had been arranged that the
guardian of the young Junius should take the contract into his own
hands, and, as the temple was in excellent repair, there was no
difficulty in the way. Verres summoned the guardian to appear before
him. "Is there any thing," he asked, "that your ward has not made good,
and which we ought to require of him?" "No," said he, "every thing is
quite right; all the statues and offerings are there, and the fabric is
in excellent repair." From the praetor's point of view this was not
satisfactory; and he determined on a personal visit. Accordingly he went
to the temple, and inspected it. The ceiling was excellent; the whole
building in the best repair. "What is to be done?" he asked of one of
his satellites. "Well," said the man, "there is nothing for you to
meddle with here, except possibly to require that the columns should be
restored to the perpendicular." "Restored to the perpendicular? what do
you mean?" said Verres, who knew nothing of architecture. It was
explained to him that it very seldom happened that a column was
absolutely true to the perpendicular. "Very good," said Verres; "we will
have the columns made perpendicular." Notice accordingly was sent to
the lad's guardians. Disturbed at the prospect of indefinite loss to
their ward's property, they sought an interview with Verres. One of the
noble family of Marcellus waited upon him, and remonstrated against the
iniquity of the proceeding. The remonstrance was in vain. The praetor
showed no signs of relenting. There yet remained one way, a way only too
well known to all who had to deal with him, of obtaining their object.
Application must be made to his mistress (a Greek freedwoman of the name
of Chelidon or "The Swallow"). If she could be induced to take an
interest in the case something might yet be done. Degrading as such a
course must have been to men of rank and honor, they resolved, in the
interest of their ward, to take it. They went to Chelidon's house. It
was thronged with people who were seeking favors from the praetor. Some
were begging for decisions in their favor; some for fresh trials of
their cases. "I want possession," cried one. "He must not take the
property from me," said another. "Don't let him pronounce judgment
against me," cried a third. "The property must be assigned to me," was
the demand of a fourth. Some were counting out money; others signing
bonds. The deputation, after waiting awhile, were admitted to the
presence. Their spokesman explained the case, begged for Chelidon's
assistance, and promised a substantial consideration. The lady was very
gracious. She would willingly do what she could, and would talk to the
praetor about it. The deputation must come again the next day and hear
how she had succeeded. They came again, but found that nothing could be
done. Verres felt sure that a large sum of money was to be got out of
the proceeding, and resolutely refused any compromise.

They next made an offer of about two thousand pounds. This again was
rejected. Verres resolved that he would put up the contract to auction,
and did his best that the guardians should have no notice of it. Here,
however, he failed. They attended the auction and made a bid. Of course
the lowest bidder ought to have been accepted, so long as he gave
security for doing the work well. But Verres refused to accept it. He
knocked down the contract to himself at a price of more than five
thousand pounds, and this though there were persons willing to do it for
less than a sixth of that sum. As a matter of fact very little was
done. Four of the columns were pulled down and built up again with the
same stones. Others were whitewashed; some had the old cement taken out
and fresh put in.[1] The highest estimate for all that could possibly be
wanted was less than eight hundred pounds.

[Footnote 1: "Pointed," I suppose.]

His year of office ended, Verres was sent as governor to Sicily. By
rights he should have remained there twelve months only, but his
successor was detained by the Servile war in Italy, and his stay was
thus extended to nearly three years, three years into which he crowded
an incredible number of cruelties and robberies. Sicily was perhaps the
wealthiest of all the provinces. Its fertile wheat-fields yielded
harvests which, now that agriculture had begun to decay in Italy,
provided no small part of the daily bread of Rome. In its cities,
founded most of them several centuries before by colonists from Greece,
were accumulated the riches of many generations. On the whole it had
been lightly treated by its Roman conquerors. Some of its states had
early discerned which would be the winning side, and by making their
peace in time had secured their privileges and possessions. Others had
been allowed to surrender themselves on favorable terms. This wealth had
now been increasing without serious disturbance for more than a hundred
years. The houses of the richer class were full of the rich tapestries
of the East, of gold and silver plate cunningly chased or embossed, of
statues and pictures wrought by the hands of the most famous artists of
Greece. The temples were adorned with costly offerings and with images
that were known all over the civilized world. The Sicilians were
probably prepared to pay something for the privilege of being governed
by Rome. And indeed the privilege was not without its value. The days of
freedom indeed were over; but the turbulence, the incessant strife, the
bitter struggles between neighbors and parties were also at an end. Men
were left to accumulate wealth and to enjoy it without hindrance. Any
moderate demands they were willing enough to meet. They did not
complain, for instance, or at least did not complain aloud, that they
were compelled to supply their rulers with a fixed quantity of corn at
prices lower than could have been obtained in the open market. And they
would probably have been ready to secure the good will of a governor who
fancied himself a connoisseur in art with handsome presents from their
museums and picture galleries. But the exactions of Verres exceeded all
bounds both of custom and of endurance. The story of how he dealt with
the wheat-growers of the province is too tedious and complicated to be
told in this place. Let it suffice to say that he enriched himself and
his greedy troop of followers at the cost of absolute ruin both to the
cultivators of the soil and to the Roman capitalists who farmed this
part of the public revenue. As to the way in which he laid his hands on
the possessions of temples and of private citizens, his doings were
emphatically summed up by his prosecutor when he came, as we shall
afterwards see, to be put upon his trial. "I affirm that in the whole of
Sicily, wealthy and old-established province as it is, in all those
towns, in all those wealthy homes, there was not a single piece of
silver plate, a single article of Corinthian or Delian ware, a single
jewel or pearl, a single article of gold or ivory, a single picture,
whether on panel or on canvas, which he did not hunt up and examine,
and, if it pleased his fancy, abstract. This is a great thing to say,
you think. Well, mark how I say it. It is not for the sake of rhetorical
exaggeration that I make this sweeping assertion, that I declare that
this fellow did not leave a single article of the kind in the whole
province. I speak not in the language of the professional accuser but in
plain Latin. Nay, I will put it more clearly still: in no single private
house, in no town; in no place, profane or even sacred; in the hands of
no Sicilian, of no citizen of Rome, did he leave a single article,
public or private property, of things profane or things religious, which
came under his eyes or touched his fancy."

Some of the more remarkable of these acts of spoliation it may be worth
while to relate. A certain Heius, who was at once the wealthiest and
most popular citizen of Messana, had a private chapel of great antiquity
in his house, and in it four statues of the very greatest value. There
was a Cupid by Praxiteles, a replica of a famous work which attracted
visitors to the uninteresting little town of Thespiae in Boeotia; a
Hercules from the chisel of Myro; and two bronze figures,
"Basket-bearers," as they were called, because represented as carrying
sacred vessels in baskets on their heads. These were the work of
Polyclitus. The Cupid had been brought to Rome to ornament the forum on
some great occasion, and had been carefully restored to its place. The
chapel and its contents was the great sight of the town. No one passed
through without inspecting it. It was naturally, therefore, one of the
first things that Verres saw, Messana being on his route to the capital
of his province. He did not actually take the statues, he bought them;
but the price that he paid was so ridiculously low that purchase was
only another name for robbery. Something near sixty pounds was given for
the four. If we recall the prices that would be paid now-a-days for a
couple of statues by Michael Angelo and two of the masterpieces of
Raphael and Correggio, we may imagine what a monstrous fiction this sale
must have been, all the more monstrous because the owner was a wealthy
man, who had no temptation to sell, and who was known to value his
possessions not only as works of art but as adding dignity to his
hereditary worship.

A wealthy inhabitant of Tyndaris invited the governor to dinner. He was
a Roman citizen and imagined that he might venture on a display which a
provincial might have considered to be dangerous. Among the plate on the
table was a silver dish adorned with some very fine medallions. It
struck the fancy of the guest, who promptly had it removed, and who
considered himself to be a marvel of moderation when he sent it back
with the medallions abstracted.

His secretary happened one day to receive a letter which bore a
noteworthy impression on the composition of chalk which the Greeks used
for sealing. It attracted the attention of Verres, who inquired from
what place it had come. Hearing that it had been sent from Agrigentum,
he communicated to his agents in that town his desire that the seal-ring
should be at once secured for him. And this was done. The unlucky
possessor, another Roman citizen, by the way, had his ring actually
drawn from his finger.

A still more audacious proceeding was to rob, not this time a mere
Sicilian provincial or a simple Roman citizen, but one of the tributary
kings, the heir of the great house of Antiochus, which not many years
before had matched itself with the power of Rome. Two of the young
princes had visited Rome, intending to prosecute their claims to the
throne of Egypt, which, they contended, had come to them through their
mother. The times were not favorable to the suit, and they returned to
their country, one of them, Antiochus, probably the elder, choosing to
take Sicily on his way. He naturally visited Syracuse, where Verres was
residing, and Verres at once recognized a golden opportunity. The first
thing was to send the visitor a handsome supply of wine, olive-oil, and
wheat. The next was to invite him to dinner. The dining-room and table
were richly furnished, the silver plate being particularly splendid.
Antiochus was highly delighted with the entertainment, and lost no time
in returning the compliment. The dinner to which he invited the governor
was set out with a splendor to which Verres had nothing to compare.
There was silver plate in abundance, and there were also cups of gold,
these last adorned with magnificent gems.

Conspicuous among the ornaments of the table was a drinking vessel, all
in one piece, probably of amethyst, and with a handle of gold. Verres
expressed himself delighted with what he saw. He handled every vessel
and was loud in its praises. The simple-minded King, on the other hand,
heard the compliment with pride. Next day came a message. Would the King
lend some of the more beautiful cups to his excellency? He wished to
show them to his own artists. A special request was made for the
amethyst cup. All was sent without a suspicion of danger.

But the King had still in his possession something that especially
excited the Roman's cupidity. This was a candelabrum of gold richly
adorned with jewels. It had been intended for an offering to the
tutelary deity of Rome, Jupiter of the Capitol. But the temple, which
had been burned to the ground in the civil wars, had not yet been
rebuilt, and the princes, anxious that their gift should not be seen
before it was publicly presented, resolved to carry it back with them to
Syria. Verres, however, had got, no one knew how, some inkling of the
matter, and he begged Antiochus to let him have a sight of it. The young
prince, who, so far from being suspicious, was hardly sufficiently
cautious, had it carefully wrapped up, and sent it to the governor's
palace. When he had minutely inspected it, the messengers prepared to
carry it back. Verres, however, had not seen enough of it. It clearly
deserved more than one examination. Would they leave it with him for a
time? They left it, suspecting nothing.

Antiochus, on his part, had no apprehensions. When some days had passed
and the candelabrum was not returned, he sent to ask for it. The
governor begged the messenger to come again the next day. It seemed a
strange request; still the man came again and was again unsuccessful.
The King himself then waited on the governor and begged him to return
it. Verres hinted, or rather said plainly, that he should very much like
it as a present. "This is impossible," replied the prince, "the honor
due to Jupiter and public opinion forbid it. All the world knows that
the offering is to be made, and I cannot go back from my word." Verres
perceived that soft words would be useless, and took at once another
line. The King, he said, must leave Sicily before nightfall. The public
safety demanded it. He had heard of a piratical expedition which was on
its way from Syria to the province, and that his departure was
necessary. Antiochus had no choice but to obey; but before he went he
publicly protested in the market-place of Syracuse against the wrong
that had been done. His other valuables, the gold and the jewels, he did
not so much regret; but it was monstrous that he should be robbed of the
gift that he destined for the altar of the tutelary god of Rome.

The Sicilian cities were not better able to protect their possessions
than were private individuals. Segesta was a town that had early ranged
itself on the side of the Romans, with whom its people had a legendary
relationship. (The story was that Aeneas on his way to Italy had left
there some of his followers, who were unwilling any longer to endure the
hardships of the journey.) In early days it had been destroyed by the
Carthaginians, who had carried off all its most valuable possessions,
the most precious being a statue of Diana, a work of great beauty and
invested with a peculiar sacredness. When Carthage fell, Scipio its
conqueror restored the spoils which had been carried off from the cities
of Sicily. Among other things Agrigentum had recovered its famous bull
of brass, in which the tyrant Phalaris had burned, it was said, his
victims. Segesta was no less fortunate than its neighbors, and got back
its Diana. It was set on a pedestal on which was inscribed the name of
Scipio, and became one of the most notable sights of the island. It was
of a colossal size, but the sculptor had contrived to preserve the
semblance of maidenly grace and modesty. Verres saw and coveted it. He
demanded it of the authorities of the town and was met with a refusal.
It was easy for the governor to make them suffer for their obstinacy.
All their imposts were doubled and more than doubled. Heavy requisitions
for men and money and corn were made upon them. A still more hateful
burden, that of attending the court and progresses of the governor was
imposed on their principal citizens. This was a contest which they
could not hope to wage with success. Segesta resolved that the statue
should be given up. It was accordingly carried away from the town, all
the women of the town, married and unmarried, following it on its
journey, showering perfumes and flowers upon it, and burning incense
before it, till it had passed beyond the borders of their territory.

If Segesta had its Diana, Tyndaris had its Mercury; and this also Verres
was resolved to add to his collection. He issued his orders to Sopater,
chief magistrate of the place, that the statue was to betaken to
Messana. (Messana being conveniently near to Italy was the place in
which he stored his plunder.) Sopater refusing was threatened with the
heaviest penalties if it was not done without delay, and judged it best
to bring the matter before the local senate. The proposition was
received with shouts of disapproval. Verres paid a second visit to the
town and at once inquired what had been done about the statue. He was
told that it was impossible. The senate had decreed the penalty of
death against any one that touched it. Apart from that, it would be an
act of the grossest impiety. "Impiety?" he burst out upon the unlucky
magistrates; "penalty of death! senate! what senate? As for you,
Sopater, you shall not escape. Give me up the statue or you shall be
flogged to death." Sopater again referred the matter to his townsmen and
implored them with tears to give way. The meeting separated in great
tumult without giving him any answer. Summoned again to the governor's
presence, he repeated that nothing could be done. But Verres had still
resources in store. He ordered the lictors to strip the man, the chief
magistrate, be it remembered, of an important town, and to set him,
naked as he was, astride on one of the equestrian statues that adorned
the market-place. It was winter; the weather was bitterly cold, with
heavy rain. The pain caused by the naked limbs being thus brought into
close contact with the bronze of the statue was intense. So frightful
was his suffering that his fellow-townsmen could not bear to see it.
They turned with loud cries upon the senate and compelled them to vote
that the coveted statue should be given up to the governor. So Verres
got his Mercury.

We have a curious picture of the man as he made his progresses from town
to town in his search for treasures of art. "As soon as it was
spring--and he knew that it was spring not from the rising of any
constellation or the blowing of any wind, but simply because he saw the
roses--then indeed he bestirred himself. So enduring, so untiring was he
that no one ever saw him upon horseback. No--he was carried in a litter
with eight bearers. His cushion was of the finest linen of Malta, and it
was stuffed with roses. There was one wreath of roses upon his head, and
another round his neck, made of the finest thread, of the smallest mesh,
and this, too, was full of roses. He was carried in this litter straight
to his chamber; and there he gave his audiences."

When spring had passed into summer even such exertions were too much for
him. He could not even endure to remain in his official residence, the
old palace of the kings of Syracuse. A number of tents were pitched for
him at the entrance of the harbor to catch the cool breezes from the
sea. There he spent his days and nights, surrounded by troops of the
vilest companions, and let the province take care of itself.

Such a governor was not likely to keep his province free from the
pirates who, issuing from their fastnesses on the Cilician coast and
elsewhere, kept the seaboard cities of the Mediterranean in constant
terror. One success, and one only, he seems to have gained over them.
His fleet was lucky enough to come upon a pirate ship, which was so
overladen with spoil that it could neither escape nor defend itself.
News was at once carried to Verres, who roused himself from his feasting
to issue strict orders that no one was to meddle with the prize. It was
towed into Syracuse, and he hastened to examine his booty. The general
feeling was one of delight that a crew of merciless villains had been
captured and were about to pay the penalty of their crimes. Verres had
far more practical views. Justice might deal as she pleased with the old
and useless; the young and able bodied, and all who happened to be
handicraftsmen, were too valuable to be given up. His secretaries, his
retinue, his son had their share of the prize; six, who happened to be
singers, were sent as a present to a friend at Rome. As to the pirate
captain himself, no one knew what had become of him. It was a favorite
amusement in Sicily to watch the sufferings of a pirate, if the
government had had the luck but to catch one, while he was being slowly
tortured to death. The people of Syracuse, to whom the pirate captain
was only too well known, watched eagerly for the day when he was to be
brought out to suffer. They kept an account of those who were brought
out to execution, and reckoned them against the number of the crew,
which it had been easy to conjecture from the size of the ship. Verres
had to correct the deficiency as best he could. He had the audacity to
fill the places of the prisoners whom he had sold or given away with
Roman citizens, whom on various false pretenses he had thrown into
prison. The pirate captain himself was suffered to escape on the
payment, it was believed, of a very large sum of money.

But Verres had not yet done with the pirates. It was necessary that some
show, at least, of coping with them should be made. There was a fleet,
and the fleet must put to sea. A citizen of Syracuse, who had no sort of
qualification for the task, but whom Verres was anxious to get out of
the way, was appointed to the command. The governor paid it the unwonted
attention of coming out of his tent to see it pass. His very dress, as
he stood upon the shore, was a scandal to all beholders. His sandals,
his purple cloak, his tunic, or under-garment, reaching to his ankles,
were thought wholly unsuitable to the dignity of a Roman magistrate. The
fleet, as might be expected, was scandalously ill equipped. Its men for
the most part existed, as the phrase is, only "on paper." There was the
proper complement of names, but of names only. The praetor drew from the
treasury the pay for these imaginary soldiers and marines, and diverted
it into his own pocket. And the ships were as ill provisioned as they
were ill manned. After they had been something less than five days at
sea they put into the harbor of Pachynus. The crews were driven to
satisfy their hunger on the roots of the dwarf palm, which grew, and
indeed still grows, in abundance on that spot. Cleomenes meanwhile was
following the example of his patron. He had his tent pitched on the
shore, and sat in it drinking from morning to night. While he was thus
employed tidings were brought that the pirate fleet was approaching. He
was ill prepared for an engagement. His hope had been to complete the
manning of his ships from the garrison of the fort. But Verres had dealt
with the fort as he had dealt with the fleet. The soldiers were as
imaginary as the sailors. Still a man of courage would have fought. His
own ship was fairly well manned, and was of a commanding size, quite
able to overpower the light vessels of the pirates; and such a crew as
there was was eager to fight. But Cleomenes was as cowardly as he was
incompetent. He ordered the mast of his ship to be hoisted, the sails to
be set, and the cable cut, and made off with all speed. The rest of his
fleet could do nothing but follow his example. The pirates gave chase,
and captured two of the ships as they fled. Cleomenes reached the port
of Helorus, stranded his ship, and left it to its fate. His colleagues
did the same. The pirate chief found them thus deserted and burned them.
He had then the audacity to sail into the inner harbor of Syracuse, a
place into which, we are told, only one hostile fleet, the ill-fated
Athenian expedition, three centuries and a half before, had ever
penetrated. The rage of the inhabitants at this spectacle exceeded all
bounds, and Verres felt that a victim must be sacrificed. He was, of
course, himself the chief culprit. Next in guilt to him was Cleomenes.
But Cleomenes was spared for the same scandalous reason which had caused
his appointment to the command. The other captains, who might indeed
have shown more courage, but who were comparatively blameless, were
ordered to execution. It seemed all the more necessary to remove them
because they could have given inconvenient testimony as to the
inefficient condition of the ships.

The cruelty of Verres was indeed as conspicuous as his avarice. Of this,
as of his other vices, it would not suit the purpose of this book to
speak in detail. One conspicuous example will suffice. A certain Gavius
had given offense, how we know not, and had been confined in the
disused stone quarries which served for the public prison of Syracuse.
From these he contrived to escape, and made his way to Messana.
Unluckily for himself, he did not know that Messana was the one place in
Sicily where it would not be safe to speak against the governor. Just as
he was about to embark for Italy he was heard to complain of the
treatment which he had received, and was arrested and brought before the
chief magistrate of the town. Verres happened to come to the town the
same day, and heard what had happened. He ordered the man to be stripped
and flogged in the market-place. Gavius pleaded that he was a Roman
citizen and offered proof of his claim. Verres refused to listen, and
enraged by the repetition of the plea, actually ordered the man to be
crucified. "And set up," he said to his lictors, "set up the cross by
the straits. He is a Roman citizen, he says, and he will at least be
able to have a view of his native country." We know from the history of
St. Paul what a genuine privilege and protection this citizenship was.
And Cicero exactly expresses the feeling on the subject in his famous
words. "It is a crime to put a Roman citizen in irons; it is positive
wickedness to inflict stripes upon him; it is close upon parricide to
put him to death; as to crucifying him there is no word for it." And on
this crowning act of audacity Verres had the recklessness to venture.

After holding office for three years Verres came back to Rome. The
people of Messana, his only friends in the islands, had built a
merchantman for him, and he loaded it with his spoils. He came back with
a light heart. He knew indeed that the Sicilians would impeach him. His
wrong-doings had been too gross, too insolent, for him to escape
altogether. But he was confident that he had the means in his hands for
securing an acquittal. The men that were to judge him were men of his
own order. The senators still retained the privilege which Sulla had
given them. They, and they alone, furnished the juries before whom such
causes were tried. Of these senators not a few had a fellow-feeling for
a provincial governor accused of extortion and wrong. Some had
plundered provinces in the past; others hoped to do so in the future.
Many insignificant men who could not hope to obtain such promotion were
notoriously open to bribes. And some who would have scorned to receive
money, or were too wealthy to be influenced by it, were not insensible
to the charms of other gifts--to a fine statue or a splendid picture
judiciously bestowed. A few, even more scrupulous, who would not accept
such presents for their own halls or gardens, were glad to have such
splendid ornaments for the games which they exhibited to the people.
Verres came back amply provided with these means of securing his safety.
He openly avowed--for indeed he was as frank as he was unscrupulous--that
he had trebled his extortions in order that, after leaving a sufficiency
for himself, he might have wherewith to win the favor of his judges. It
soon became evident to him that he would need these and all other help,
if he was to escape. The Sicilians engaged Cicero to plead their cause.
He had been quaestor in a division of the province for a year six years
before, and had won golden opinions by his moderation and integrity. And
Cicero was a power in the courts of the law, all the greater because he
had never yet prosecuted, but had kept himself to what was held the more
honorable task of defending persons accused.[2] Verres secured Hortensius.
He too was a great orator; Cicero had chosen him as the model which he
would imitate, and speaks of him as having been a splendid and energetic
speaker, full of life both in diction and action. At that time, perhaps,
his reputation stood higher than that of Cicero himself. It was something
to have retained so powerful an advocate; it would be still more if it
could be contrived that the prosecutor should be a less formidable person.
And there was a chance of contriving this. A certain Caecilius was induced
to come forward, and claim for himself, against Cicero, the duty of
prosecuting the late governor of Sicily. He too had been a quaestor in the
province, and he had quarreled, or he pretended that he had quarreled, with
Verres. The first thing there had to be argued before the court, which,
like our own, consisted of a presiding judge and a jury, was the
question, who was to prosecute, Cicero or Caecilius, or the two
together. Cicero made a great speech, in which he established his own
claim. He was the choice of the provincials; the honesty of his rival
was doubtful, while it was quite certain that he was incompetent. The
court decided in his favor, and he was allowed one hundred and ten days
to collect evidence. Verres had another device in store. This time a
member of the Senate came forward and claimed to prosecute Verres for
misdoings in the province of Achaia in Greece. He wanted one hundred and
eight days only for collecting evidence. If this claim should be
allowed, the second prosecution would be taken first; of course it was
not intended to be serious, and would end in an acquittal. Meanwhile all
the available time would have been spent, and the Sicilian affair would
have to be postponed till the next year. It was on postponement indeed
that Verres rested his hopes. In July Hortensius was elected consul for
the following year, and if the trial could only be put off till he had
entered upon office, nothing was to be feared. Verres was openly
congratulated in the streets of Rome on his good fortune. "I have good
news for you," cried a friend; "the election has taken place and you are
acquitted." Another friend had been chosen praetor, and would be the
new presiding judge. Consul and praetor between them would have the
appointment of the new jurors, and would take care that they should be
such as the accused desired. At the same time the new governor of Sicily
would be also a friend, and he would throw judicious obstacles in the
way of the attendance of witnesses. The sham prosecution came to
nothing. The prosecutor never left Italy. Cicero, on the other hand,
employed the greatest diligence. Accompanied by his cousin Lucius he
visited all the chief cities of Sicily, and collected from them an
enormous mass of evidence. In this work he only spent fifty out of the
hundred and ten days allotted to him, and was ready to begin long before
he was expected.

[Footnote 2: So Horace compliments a friend on being "the illustrious
safeguard of the sad accused."]

Verres had still one hope left; and this, strangely enough, sprang out
of the very number and enormity of his crimes. The mass of evidence was
so great that the trial might be expected to last for a long time. If it
could only be protracted into the next year, when his friends would be
in office, he might still hope to escape. And indeed there was but
little time left. The trial began on the fifth of August. In the middle
of the month Pompey was to exhibit some games. Then would come the games
called "The Games of Rome," and after this others again, filling up much
of the three months of September, October, and November. Cicero
anticipated this difficulty. He made a short speech (it could not have
lasted more than two hours in delivering), in which he stated the case
in outline. He made a strong appeal to the jury. They were themselves on
their trial. The eyes of all the world were on them. If they did not do
justice on so notorious a criminal they would never be trusted any more.
It would be seen that the senators were not fit to administer the law.
The law itself was on its trial. The provincials openly declared that if
Verres was acquitted, the law under which their governors were liable to
be accused had better be repealed. If no fear of a prosecution were
hanging over them, they would be content with as much plunder as would
satisfy their own wants. They would not need to extort as much more
wherewith to bribe their judges. Then he called his witnesses. A
marvelous array they were. "From the foot of Mount Taurus, from the
shores of the Black Sea, from many cities of the Grecian mainland, from
many islands of the Aegean, from every city and market-town of Sicily,
deputations thronged to Rome. In the porticoes, and on the steps of the
temples, in the area of the Forum, in the colonnade that surrounded it,
on the housetops and on the overlooking declivities, were stationed
dense and eager crowds of impoverished heirs and their guardians,
bankrupt tax-farmers and corn merchants, fathers bewailing their
children carried off to the praetor's harem, children mourning for their
parents dead in the praetor's dungeons, Greek nobles whose descent was
traced to Cecrops or Eurysthenes, or to the great Ionian and Minyan
houses, and Phoenicians, whose ancestors had been priests of the Tyrian
Melcarth, or claimed kindred with the Zidonian Jah."[3] Nine days were
spent in hearing this mass of evidence. Hortensius was utterly
overpowered by it. He had no opportunity for displaying his eloquence,
or making a pathetic appeal for a noble oppressed by the hatred of the
democracy. After a few feeble attempts at cross-examination, he
practically abandoned the case. The defendant himself perceived that his
position was hopeless. Before the nine days, with their terrible
impeachment, had come to an end he fled from Rome.

[Footnote 3: Article in "Dictionary of Classical Biography and
Mythology," by William Bodham Donne.]

The jury returned an unanimous verdict of guilty, and the prisoner was
condemned to banishment and to pay a fine. The place of banishment
(which he was apparently allowed to select outside certain limits) was
Marseilles. The amount of the fine we do not know. It certainly was not
enough to impoverish him.

Much of the money, and many of the works of art which he had stolen were
left to him. These latter, by a singularly just retribution, proved his
ruin in the end. After the death of Cicero, Antony permitted the exiles
to return. Verres came with them, bringing back his treasures of art,
and was put to death because they excited the cupidity of the masters of



There were various courts at Rome for persons accused of various
crimes. One judge, for instance, used to try charges of poisoning;
another, charges of murder; and, just as is the case among us, each
judge had a jury, who gave their verdict on the evidence which they had
heard. But this verdict was not, as with us, the verdict of the whole
jury, given only if all can be induced to agree, but of the majority.
Each juryman wrote his opinion on a little tablet of wood, putting A.
(_absolvo_, "I acquit") if he thought the accused innocent, K.
(_condemno_, "I condemn") if he thought him guilty, and N.L. (_non
liquet_, "It is not clear") if the case seemed suspicious, though there
was not enough evidence to convict.

In the year 66 B.C. a very strange trial took place in the Court of
Poison Cases. A certain Cluentius was accused of having poisoned his
step-father, Oppianicus, and various other persons. Cicero, who was
praetor that year (the praetor was the magistrate next in rank to the
consul), defended Cluentius, and told his client's whole story.

Cluentius and his step-father were both natives of Larinum, a town in
Apulia, where there was a famous temple of Mars. A dispute about the
property of this temple caused an open quarrel between the two men, who
had indeed been enemies for some years. Oppianicus took up the case of
some slaves, who were called _Servants of Mars_, declaring that they
were not slaves at all, but Roman citizens. This he did, it would seem,
because he desired to annoy his fellow-townsmen, with whom he was very
unpopular. The people of Larinum, who were very much interested in all
that concerned the splendor of their temple services, resisted the
claim, and asked Cluentius to plead their case. Cluentius consented.
While the cause was going on, it occurred to Oppianicus to get rid of
his opponent by poison. He employed an agent, and the agent put the
matter into the hands of his freedman, a certain Scamander. Scamander
tried to accomplish his object by bribing the slave of the physician who
was attending Cluentius. The physician was a needy Greek, and his slave
had probably hard and scanty fare; but he was an honest man, and as
clever as he was honest. He pretended to accept the offer, and arranged
for a meeting. This done, he told the whole matter to his master the
physician, and the physician told it again to his patient. Cluentius
arranged that certain friends should be present in concealment at the
interview between the slave and his tempter. The villain came, and was
seized with the poison and a packet of money, sealed with his master's
seal, upon him.

Cluentius, who had put up with many provocations from his mother's
husband, now felt that his life was in danger, and determined to defend
himself. He indicted Scamander for an attempt to poison. The man was
found guilty. Scamander's patron (as they used to call a freedman's old
master) was next brought to trial, and with the same result. Last of all
Oppianicus, the chief criminal, was attacked. Scamander's trial had
warned him of his danger, and he had labored to bring about the man's
acquittal. One vote, and one only, he had contrived to secure. And to
the giver of this vote, a needy and unprincipled member of the Senate,
he now had recourse. He went, of course, with a large sum in his
hand--something about five thousand six hundred pounds of our money.
With this the senator--Staienus by name--was to bribe sixteen out of the
thirty-two jurymen. They were to have three hundred and fifty pounds
apiece for their votes, and Staienus was to have as much for his own
vote (which would give a majority), and something over for his trouble.
Staienus conceived the happy idea of appropriating the whole, and he
managed it in this way. He accosted a fellow-juror, whom he knew to be
as unprincipled as himself. "Bulbus," he said, "you will help me in
taking care that we sha'n't serve our country for nothing." "You may
count on me," said the man. Staienus went on, "The defendant has
promised three hundred and fifty pounds to every juror who will vote
'Not Guilty.' You know who will take the money. Secure them, and come
again to me." Nine days after, Bulbus came with beaming face to
Staienus. "I have got the sixteen in the matter you know of; and now,
where is the money?" "He has played me false," replied the other; "the
money is not forthcoming. As for myself, I shall certainly vote

The trial came to an end, and the verdict was to be given. The defendant
claimed that it should be given by word of mouth, being anxious to know
who had earned their money. Staienus and Bulbus were the first to vote.
To the surprise of all, they voted "Guilty." Rumors too of foul play had
spread about. The two circumstances caused some of the more respectable
jurors to hesitate. In the end _five_ voted for acquittal, _ten_ said
"Not Proven," and seventeen "Guilty." Oppianicus suffered nothing worse
than banishment, a banishment which did not prevent him from living in
Italy, and even in the neighborhood of Rome. The Romans, though they
shed blood like water in their civil strife, were singularly lenient in
their punishments. Not long afterwards he died.

His widow saw in his death an opportunity of gratifying the unnatural
hatred which she had long felt for her son Cluentius. She would accuse
him of poisoning his step-father. Her first attempt failed completely.
She subjected three slaves to torture, one of them her own, another
belonged to the younger Oppianicus, a third the property of the
physician who had attended the deceased in his last illness. But the
cruelties and tortures extorted no confession from the men. At last the
friends whom she had summoned to be present at the inquiry compelled her
to desist. Three years afterwards she renewed the attempt. She had taken
one of the three tortured slaves into high favor, and had established
him as a physician at Larinum. The man committed an audacious robbery in
his mistress's house, breaking open a chest and abstracting from it a
quantity of silver coin and five pounds weight of gold. At the same time
he murdered two of his fellow-slaves, and threw their bodies into the
fish-pond. Suspicion fell upon the missing slaves. But when the chest
came to be closely examined, the opening was found to be of a very
curious kind. A friend remembered that he had lately seen among the
miscellaneous articles at an auction a circular saw which would have
made just such an opening. It was found that this saw had been bought by
the physician. He was now charged with the crime. Thereupon a young lad
who had been his accomplice came forward and told the story. The bodies
were found in the fish-pond. The guilty slave was tortured. He confessed
the deed, and he also confessed, his mistress declared, that he had
given poison to Oppianicus at the instance of Cluentius. No opportunity
was given for further inquiry. His confession made, the man was
immediately executed. Under strong compulsion from his step-mother, the
younger Oppianicus now took up the case, and indicted Cluentius for
murder. The evidence was very weak, little or nothing beyond the very
doubtful confession spoken of above; but then there was a very violent
prejudice against the accused. There had been a suspicion--perhaps more
than a suspicion--of foul play in the trial which had ended in the
condemnation of Oppianicus. The defendant, men said, might have
attempted to bribe the jury, but the plaintiff had certainly done so. It
would be a fine thing if he were to be punished even by finding him
guilty of a crime which he had not committed.

In defending his client, Cicero relied as much upon the terrible list
of crimes which had been proved against the dead Oppianicus as upon any
thing else. Terrible indeed it was, as a few specimens from the
catalogue will prove.

Among the wealthier inhabitants of Larinum was a certain Dinaea, a
childless widow. She had lost her eldest son in the Social War (the war
carried on between Rome and her Italian allies), and had seen two others
die of disease. Her only daughter, who had been married to Oppianicus,
was also dead. Now came the unexpected news that her eldest son was
still alive. He had been sold into slavery, and was still working among
a gang of laborers on a farm in Gaul. The poor woman called her kinsfolk
together and implored them to undertake the task of recovering him. At
the same time she made a will, leaving the bulk of her property to her
daughter's son, the younger Oppianicus, but providing for the missing
man a legacy of between three and four thousand pounds. The elder
Oppianicus was not disposed to see so large a sum go out of the family.
Dinaea fell ill, and he brought her his own physician. The patient
refused the man's services; they had been fatal, she said, to all her
kinsfolk. Oppianicus then contrived to introduce to her a traveling
quack from Ancona. He had bribed the man with about seventeen pounds of
our money to administer a deadly drug. The fee was large, and the fellow
was expected to take some pains with the business; but he was in a
hurry; he had many markets to visit; and he gave a single dose which
there was no need to repeat.

Meanwhile Dinaea's kinsfolk had sent two agents to make inquiries for
the missing son. But Oppianicus had been beforehand with them. He had
bribed the man who had brought the first news, had learned where he was
to be found, and had caused him to be assassinated. The agents wrote to
their employers at Larinum, saying that the object of their search could
not be found, Oppianicus having undoubtedly tampered with the person
from whom information was to be obtained. This letter excited great
indignation at Larinum; and one of the family publicly declared in the
market-place that he should hold Oppianicus (who happened to be present)
responsible if any harm should be found to have happened to the missing
man. A few days afterwards the agents themselves returned. They had
found the man, but he was dead. Oppianicus dared not face the burst of
rage which this news excited, and fled from Larinum. But he was not at
the end of his resources. The Civil War between Sulla and the party of
Marius (for Marius himself was now dead) was raging, and Oppianicus fled
to the camp of Metellus Pius, one of Sulla's lieutenants. There he
represented himself as one who had suffered for the party. Metellus had
himself fought in the Social War, and fought against the side to which
the murdered prisoner belonged. It was therefore easy to persuade him
that the man had deserved his fate, and that his friends were unworthy
persons and dangerous to the commonwealth. Oppianicus returned to
Larinum with an armed force, deposed the magistrates whom the
towns-people had chosen, produced Sulla's mandate for the appointment of
himself and three of his creatures in their stead, as well as for the
execution of four persons particularly obnoxious to him. These four
were, the man who had publicly threatened him, two of his kinsfolk, and
one of the instruments of his own villainies, whom he now found it
convenient to get out of the way.

The story of the crimes of Oppianicus, of which only a small part has
been given, having been finished, Cicero related the true circumstances
of his death. After his banishment he had wandered about for a while
shunned by all his acquaintances. Then he had taken up his quarters in a
farmhouse in the Falernian country. From these he was driven away by a
quarrel with the farmer, and removed to a small lodging which he had
hired outside the walls of Rome. Not long afterwards he fell from his
horse, and received a severe injury in his side. His health was already
weak, fever came on, he was carried into the city and died after a few
days' illness.

Besides the charge of poisoning Oppianicus there were others that had to
be briefly dealt with. One only of these needs to be mentioned.
Cluentius, it was said, had put poison into a cup of honey wine, with
the intention of giving it to the younger Oppianicus. The occasion, it
was allowed, was the young man's wedding-breakfast, to which, as was
the custom at Larinum, a large company had been invited. The prosecutor
affirmed that one of the bridegroom's friends had intercepted the cup on
its way, drunk off its contents, and instantly expired. The answer to
this was complete. The young man had not instantly expired. On the
contrary, he had died after an illness of several days, and this illness
had had a different cause. He was already out of health when he came to
the breakfast, and he had made himself worse by eating and drinking too
freely, "as," says the orator, "young men will do." He then called a
witness to whom no one could object, the father of the deceased. "The
least suspicion of the guilt of Cluentius would have brought him as a
witness against him. Instead of doing this he gives him his support.
Read," said Cicero to the clerk, "read his evidence. And you, sir,"
turning to the father, "stand up a while, if you please, and submit to
the pain of hearing what I am obliged to relate. I will say no more
about the case. Your conduct has been admirable; you would not allow
your own sorrow to involve an innocent man in the deplorable calamity of
a false accusation."

Then came the story of the cruel and shameful plot which the mother had
contrived against her son. Nothing would content this wicked woman but
that she must herself journey to Rome to give all the help that she
could to the prosecution. "And what a journey this was!" cried Cicero.
"I live near some of the towns near which she passed, and I have heard
from many witnesses what happened. Vast crowds came to see her. Men, ay,
and women too, groaned aloud as she passed by. Groaned at what? Why,
that from the distant town of Larinum, from the very shore of the Upper
Sea, a woman was coming with a great retinue and heavy money-bags,
coming with the single object of bringing about the ruin of a son who
was being tried for his life. In all those crowds there was not a man
who did not think that every spot on which she set her foot needed to be
purified, that the very earth, which is the mother of us all, was
defiled by the presence of a mother so abominably wicked. There was not
a single town in which she was allowed to stay; there was not an inn of
all the many upon that road where the host did not shun the contagion
of her presence. And indeed she preferred to trust herself to solitude
and to darkness rather than to any city or hostelry. And now," said
Cicero, turning to the woman, who was probably sitting in court, "does
she think that we do not all know her schemes, her intrigues, her
purposes from day to day? Truly we know exactly to whom she has gone, to
whom she has promised money, whose integrity she has endeavored to
corrupt with her bribes. Nay, more: we have heard all about the things
which she supposes to be a secret, her nightly sacrifice, her wicked
prayers, her abominable vows."

He then turned to the son, whom he would have the jury believe was as
admirable as the mother was vile. He had certainly brought together a
wonderful array of witnesses to, character. From Larinum every grown-up
man that had the strength to make the journey had come to Rome to
support their fellow-townsman. The town was left to the care of women
and children. With these witnesses had come, bringing a resolution of
the local senate full of the praises of the accused, a deputation of the
senators. Cicero turned to the deputation and begged them to stand up
while the resolution was being read. They stood up and burst into tears,
which indeed are much more common among the people of the south than
among us, and of which no one sees any reason to be ashamed. "You see
these tears, gentlemen," cried the orator to the jury. "You may be sure,
from seeing them, that every member of the senate was in tears also when
they passed this resolution." Nor was it only Larinum, but all the chief
Samnite towns that had sent their most respected citizens to give their
evidence for Cluentius. "Few," said Cicero, "I think, are loved by me as
much as he is loved by all these friends."

Cluentius was acquitted. Cicero is said to have boasted afterwards that
he had blinded the eyes of the jury. Probably his client had bribed the
jury in the trial of his step-father. That was certainly the common
belief, which indeed went so far as to fix the precise sum which he
paid. "How many miles is your farm from Rome?" was asked of one of the
witnesses at a trial connected with the case. "Less than fifty-three,"
he replied. "Exactly the sum," was the general cry from the spectators.
The point of the joke is in the fact that the same word stood in Latin
for the _thousand_ paces which made a mile and the _thousand_ coins by
which sums of money were commonly reckoned. Oppianicus had paid forty
thousand for an acquittal, and Cluentius outbid him with fifty thousand
("less than fifty-three") to secure a verdict of guilty. But whatever we
may think of the guilt or innocence of Cluentius, there can be no doubt
that the cause in which Cicero defended him was one of the most
interesting ever tried in Rome.



A Roman of even moderate wealth--for Cicero was far from being one of
the richest men of his time--commonly possessed more country-houses than
belong even to the wealthiest of English nobles. One such house at least
Cicero inherited from his father. It was about three miles from Arpinum,
a little town in that hill country of the Sabines which was the
proverbial seat of a temperate and frugal race, and which Cicero
describes in Homeric phrase as

   "Rough but a kindly nurse of men."

In his grandfather's time it had been a plain farmhouse, of the kind
that had satisfied the simpler manners of former days--the days when
Consuls and Dictators were content, their time of office ended, to plow
their own fields and reap their own harvests. Cicero was born within its
walls, for the primitive fashion of family life still prevailed, and the
married son continued to live in his father's house. After the old man's
death, when the old-fashioned frugality gave way to a more sumptuous
manner of life, the house was greatly enlarged, one of the additions
being a library, a room of which the grandfather, who thought that his
contemporaries were like Syrian slaves, "the more Greek they knew the
greater knaves they were," had never felt the want; but in which his
son, especially in his later days, spent most of his time. The garden
and grounds were especially delightful, the most charming spot of all
being an island formed by the little stream Fibrenus. A description put
into the mouth of Quintus, the younger son of the house, thus depicts
it: "I have never seen a more pleasant spot. Fibrenus here divides his
stream into two of equal size, and so washes either side. Flowing
rapidly by he joins his waters again, having compassed just as much
ground as makes a convenient place for our literary discussions. This
done he hurries on, just as if the providing of such a spot had been his
only office and function, to fall into the Liris. Then, like one adopted
into a noble family, he loses his own obscurer name. The Liris indeed he
makes much colder. A colder stream than this indeed I never touched,
though I have seen many. I can scarce bear to dip my foot in it. You
remember how Plato makes Socrates dip his foot in Ilissus." Atticus too
is loud in his praises. "This, you know, is my first time of coming
here, and I feel that I cannot admire it enough. As to the splendid
villas which one often sees, with their marble pavements and gilded
ceilings, I despise them. And their water-courses, to which they give
the fine names of Nile or Euripus, who would not laugh at them when he
sees your streams? When we want rest and delight for the mind it is to
nature that we must come. Once I used to wonder--for I never thought
that there was any thing but rocks and hills in the place--that you took
such pleasure in the spot. But now I marvel that when you are away from
Rome you care to be any where but here." "Well," replied Cicero, "when I
get away from town for several days at a time, I do prefer this place;
but this I can seldom do. And indeed I love it, not only because it is
so pleasant, so healthy a resort, but also because it is my native land,
mine and my father's too, and because I live here among the associations
of those that have gone before me."

Other homes he purchased at various times of his life, as his means
permitted. The situation of one of them, at Formiae near Cape Caista,
was particularly agreeable to him, for he loved the sea; it amused him
as it had amused, he tells us, the noble friends, Scipio and Laelius,
before him, to pick up pebbles on the shore. But this part of the coast
was a fashionable resort. Chance visitors were common; and there were
many neighbors, some of whom were far too liberal of their visits. He
writes to Atticus on one occasion from his Formian villa: "As to
composition, to which you are always urging me, it is absolutely
impossible. It is a public-hall that I have here, not a country-house,
such a crowd of people is there at Formiae. As to most of them nothing
need be said. After ten o'clock they cease to trouble me. But my nearest
neighbor is Arrius. The man absolutely lives with me, says that he has
given up the idea of going to Rome because he wants to talk philosophy
with me. And then, on the other side, there is Sebosus, Catulus' friend,
as you will remember. Now what am I to do? I would certainly be off to
Arpinum if I did not expect to see you here." In the next letter he
repeats the complaints: "Just as I am sitting down to write in comes our
friend Sebosus. I had not time to give an inward groan, when Arrius
says, 'Good morning.' And this is going away from Rome! I will
certainly be off to

   'My native hills, the cradle of my race.'"

Still, doubtless, there was a sweetness, the sweetness of being famous
and sought after, even in these annoyances. He never ceased to pay
occasional visits to Formiae. It was a favorite resort of his family;
and it was there that he spent the last days of his life.

But the country-house which he loved best of all was his villa at
Tusculum, a Latin town lying on the slope of Mount Algidus, at such a
height above the sea[4] as would make a notable hill in England. Here
had lived in an earlier generation Crassus, the orator after whose model
the young Cicero had formed his own eloquence; and Catulus, who shared
with Marius the glory of saving Rome from the barbarians; and Caesar, an
elder kinsman of the Dictator. Cicero's own house had belonged to
Sulla, and its walls were adorned with frescoes of that great soldier's
victories. For neighbors he had the wealthy Lucullus, and the still more
wealthy Crassus, one of the three who ruled Rome when it could no longer
rule itself, and, for a time at least, Quintus, his brother. "This," he
writes to his friend Atticus, "is the one spot in which I can get some
rest from all my toils and troubles."

[Footnote 4: 2200 feet.]

Though Cicero often speaks of this house of his, he nowhere describes
its general arrangements. We shall probably be not far wrong if we
borrow our idea of this from the letter in which the younger Pliny tells
a friend about one of his own country seats.

"The courtyard in front is plain without being mean. From this you pass
into a small but cheerful space inclosed by colonnades in the shape of
the letter D. Between these there is a passage into an inner covered
court, and out of this again into a handsome hall, which has on every
side folding doors or windows equally large. On the left hand of this
hall lies a large drawing-room, and beyond that a second of a smaller
size, which has one window to the rising and another to the setting sun.
Adjoining this is another room of a semicircular shape, the windows of
which are so arranged as to get the sun all through the day: in the
walls are bookcases containing a collection of authors who cannot be
read too often. Out of this is a bedroom which can be warmed with hot
air. The rest of this side of the house is appropriated to the use of
the slaves and freedmen; yet most of the rooms are good enough to put my
guests into. In the opposite wing is a most elegant bedroom, another
which can be used both as bedroom and sitting-room, and a third which
has an ante-room of its own, and is so high as to be cool in summer, and
with walls so thick that it is warm in winter. Then comes the bath with
its cooling room, its hot room, and its dressing chamber. And not far
from this again the tennis court, which gets the warmth of the afternoon
sun, and a tower which commands an extensive view of the country round.
Then there is a granary and a store-room."

This was probably a larger villa than Cicero's, though it was itself
smaller than another which Pliny describes. We must make an allowance
for the increase in wealth and luxury which a century and a half had
brought. Still we may get some idea from it of Cicero's country-house,
one point of resemblance certainly being that there was but one floor.

What Cicero says about his "Tusculanum" chiefly refers to its furnishing
and decoration, and is to be found for the most part in his letters to
Atticus. Atticus lived for many years in Athens and had therefore
opportunities of buying works of art and books which did not fall in the
way of the busy lawyer and statesman of Rome. But the room which in
Cicero's eyes was specially important was one which we may call the
lecture-room, and he is delighted when his friend was able to procure
some appropriate ornaments for it. "Your _Hermathena_" he writes (the
_Hermathena_ was a composite statue, or rather a double bust upon a
pedestal, with the heads of Hermes and Athene, the Roman Mercury and
Minerva) "pleases me greatly. It stands so prettily that the whole
lecture-room looks like a votive chapel of the deity. I am greatly
obliged to you." He returns to the subject in another letter. Atticus
had probably purchased for him another bust of the same kind. "What you
write about the _Hermathena_ pleases me greatly. It is a most
appropriate ornament for my own little 'seat of learning.' Hermes is
suitable every where, and Minerva is the special emblem of a
lecture-room. I should be glad if you would, as you suggest, find as
many more ornaments of the same kind for the place. As for the statues
that you sent me before, I have not seen them. They are at my house at
Formiae, whither I am just now thinking of going. I shall remove them
all to my place at Tusculum. If ever I shall find myself with more than
enough for this I shall begin to ornament the other. Pray keep your
books. Don't give up the hope that I may be able to make them mine. If I
can only do this I shall be richer than Crassus." And, again, "If you
can find any lecture-room ornaments do not neglect to secure them. My
Tusculum house is so delightful to me that it is only when I get there
that I seem to be satisfied with myself." In another letter we hear
something about the prices. He has paid about one hundred and eighty
pounds for some statues from Megara which his friend had purchased for
him. At the same time he thanks him by anticipation for some busts of
Hermes, in which the pedestals were of marble from Pentelicus, and the
heads of bronze. They had not come to hand when he next writes: "I am
looking for them," he says, "most anxiously;" and he again urges
diligence in looking for such things. "You may trust the length of my
purse. This is my special fancy." Shortly after Atticus has found
another kind of statue, double busts of Hermes and Hercules, the god of
strength; and Cicero is urgent to have them for his lecture-room. All
the same he does not forget the books, for which he is keeping his odds
and ends of income, his "little vintages," as he calls them--possibly
the money received from a small vineyard attached to his
pleasure-grounds. Of books, however, he had an ample supply close at
home, of which he could make as much use as he pleased, the splendid
library which Lucullus had collected. "When I was at my house in
Tusculum," he writes in one of his treatises, "happening to want to make
use of some books in the library of the young Lucullus, I went to his
villa, to take them out myself, as my custom was. Coming there I found
Cato (Cato was the lad's uncle and guardian), of whom, however, then I
knew nothing, sitting in the library absolutely surrounded with books of
the Stoic writers on philosophy."

When Cicero was banished, the house at Tusculum shared the fate of the
rest of his property. The building was destroyed. The furniture, and
with it the books and works of art so diligently collected, were stolen
or sold. Cicero thought, and was probably right in thinking, that the
Senate dealt very meanly with him when they voted him something between
four and five thousand pounds as compensation for his loss in this
respect. For his house at Formiae they gave him half as much. We hear of
his rebuilding the house. He had advertised the contract, he tells us in
the same letter in which he complains of the insufficient compensation.
Some of his valuables he recovered, but we hear no more of collecting.
He had lost heart for it, as men will when such a disaster has happened
to them. He was growing older too, and the times were growing more and
more troublous. Possibly money was not so plentiful with him as it had
been in earlier days. But we have one noble monument of the man
connected with the second of his two Tusculum houses. He makes it the
scene of the "Discussions of Tusculum," one of the last of the treatises
in the writing of which he found consolation for private and public
sorrows. He describes himself as resorting in the afternoon to his
"Academy," and there discussing how the wise man may rise superior to
the fear of death, to pain and to sorrow, how he may rule his passions,
and find contentment in virtue alone. "If it seems," he says, summing up
the first of these discussions, "if it seems the clear bidding of God
that we should quit this life [he seems to be speaking of suicide, which
appeared to a Roman to be, under certain circumstances, a laudable act],
let us obey gladly and thankfully. Let us consider that we are being
loosed from prison, and released from chains, that we may either find
our way back to a home that is at once everlasting and manifestly our
own, or at least be quit forever of all sensation and trouble. If no
such bidding come to us, let us at least cherish such a temper that we
may look on that day so dreadful to others as full of blessing to us;
and let us look on nothing that is ordered for us either by the
everlasting gods or by nature, our common mother, as an evil. It is not
by some random chance that we have been created. There is beyond all
doubt some mighty Power which watches over the race of man, which does
not produce a creature whose doom it is, after having exhausted all
other woes, to fall at last into the unending woe of death. Rather let
us believe that we have in death a haven and refuge prepared for us. I
would that we might sail thither with widespread sails; if not, if
contrary winds shall blow us back, still we must needs reach, though it
may be somewhat late, the haven where we would be. And as for the fate
which is the fate of all, how can it be the unhappiness of one?"



Sergius Catiline belonged to an ancient family which had fallen into
poverty. In the evil days of Sulla, when the nobles recovered the power
which they had lost, and plundered and murdered their adversaries, he
had shown himself as cruel and as wicked as any of his fellows. Like
many others he had satisfied grudges of his own under pretense of
serving his party, and had actually killed his brother-in-law with his
own hand. These evil deeds and his private character, which was of the
very worst, did not hinder him from rising to high offices in the State.
He was made first aedile, then praetor, then governor of Africa, a
province covering the region which now bears the names of Tripoli and
Tunis. At the end of his year of government he returned to Rome,
intending to become a candidate for the consulship. In this he met with
a great disappointment. He was indicted for misgovernment in his
province, and as the law did not permit any one who had such a charge
hanging over him to stand for any public office, he was compelled to
retire. But he soon found, or fancied that he had found, an opportunity
of revenging himself. The two new consuls were found guilty of bribery,
and were compelled to resign. One of them, enraged at his disgrace, made
common cause with Catiline. A plot, in which not a few powerful citizens
were afterwards suspected with more or less reason of having joined, was
formed. It was arranged that the consuls should be assassinated on the
first day of the new year; the day, that is, on which they were to enter
on their office. But a rumor of some impending danger got about; on the
appointed day the new consuls appeared with a sufficient escort, and the
conspirators agreed to postpone the execution of their scheme till an
early day in February. This time the secret was better kept, but the
impatience of Catiline hindered the plot from being carried out. It had
been arranged that he should take his place in front of the
senate-house, and give to the hired band of assassins the signal to
begin. This signal he gave before the whole number was assembled. The
few that were present had not the courage to act, and the opportunity
was lost.

The trial for misgovernment ended in an acquittal, purchased, it was
said, by large bribes given to the jurymen and even to the prosecutor, a
certain Clodius, of whom we shall hear again, and shall find to have
been not one whit better than Catiline himself. A second trial, this
time for misdeeds committed in the days of Sulla, ended in the same way.
Catiline now resolved on following another course of action. He would
take up the character of a friend of the people. He had the advantage of
being a noble, for men thought that he was honest when they saw him thus
turn against his own order, and, as it seemed, against his own
interests. And indeed there was much that he could say, and say with
perfect truth, against the nobles. They were corrupt and profligate
beyond all bearing. They sat on juries and gave false verdicts for
money. They went out to govern provinces, showed themselves horribly
cruel and greedy, and then came home to be acquitted by men who had done
or hoped to do the very same things themselves. People listened to
Catiline when he spoke against such doings, without remembering that he
was just as bad himself. He had too, just the reputation for strength
and courage that was likely to make him popular. He had never been a
soldier, but he was known to be very brave, and he had a remarkable
power of enduring cold and hunger and hardships of every kind. On the
strength of the favor which he thus gained, he stood again for the
consulship. In anticipation of being elected, he gathered a number of
men about him, unsuccessful and discontented like himself, and unfolded
his plans. All debts were to be wiped out, and wealthy citizens were to
be put to death and their property to be divided. It was hoped that the
consuls at home, and two at least of the armies in the provinces, would
support the movement. The first failure was that Catiline was not
elected consul, Cicero being chosen unanimously, with Antonius, who had
a small majority over Catiline, for his colleague. Enraged at his want
of success, the latter now proceeded to greater lengths than ever. He
actually raised troops in various parts of Italy, but especially in
Etruria, which one Manlius, an old officer in Sulla's army, commanded.
He then again became a candidate for the consulship, resolving first to
get rid of Cicero, who, he found, met and thwarted him at every turn.
Happily for Rome these designs were discovered through the weakness of
one of his associates. This man told the secret to a lady, with whom he
was in love, and the lady, dismayed at the boldness and wickedness of
the plan, communicated all she knew to Cicero.

Not knowing that he was thus betrayed, Catiline set about ridding
himself of his great antagonist. Nor did the task seem difficult. The
hours both of business and of pleasure in Rome were what we should think
inconveniently early. Thus a Roman noble or statesman would receive in
the first hours of the morning the calls of ceremony or friendship which
it is our custom to pay in the afternoon. It would sometimes happen that
early visitors would find the great man not yet risen. In these cases he
would often receive them in bed. This was probably the habit of Cicero,
a courteous, kindly man, always anxious to be popular, and therefore
easy of access. On this habit the conspirators counted. Two of their
number, one of them a knight, the other a senator, presented themselves
at his door shortly after sunrise on the seventh of November. They
reckoned on finding him, not in the great hall of his mansion,
surrounded by friends and dependents, but in his bed-chamber. But the
consul had received warning of their coming, and they were refused
admittance. The next day he called a meeting of the Senate in the temple
of Jupiter the Stayer, which was supposed to be the safest place where
they could assemble.

To this meeting Catiline, a member in right of having filled high
offices of state, himself ventured to come. A tall, stalwart man,
manifestly of great power of body and mind, but with a face pale and
wasted by excess, and his eyes haggard and bloodshot, he sat alone in
the midst of a crowded house. No man had greeted him when he entered,
and when he took his place on the benches allotted to senators who had
filled the office of consul, all shrank from him. Then Cicero rose in
his place. He turned directly and addressed his adversary. "How long,
Catiline," he cried, "will you abuse our patience?" How had he dared to
come to that meeting? Was it not enough for him to know how all the city
was on its guard against him; how his fellow-senators shrank from him as
men shrink from a pestilence? If he was still alive, he owed it to the
forbearance of those against whom he plotted; and this forbearance would
last so long, and so long only, as to allow every one to be convinced of
his guilt. For the present, he was suffered to live, but to live guarded
and watched and incapable of mischief. Then the speaker related every
detail of the conspiracy. He knew not only every thing that the
accomplices had intended to do, but the very days that had been fixed
for doing it. Overwhelmed by this knowledge of his plans, Catiline
scarcely attempted a defense. He said in a humble voice, "Do not think,
Fathers, that I, a noble of Rome, I who have done myself, whose
ancestors have done much good to this city, wish to see it in ruins,
while this consul, a mere lodger in the place, would save it." He would
have said more, but the whole assembly burst into cries of "Traitor!
Traitor!" and drowned his voice. "My enemies," he cried, "are driving
me to destruction. But look! if you set my house on fire, I will put it
out with a general ruin." And he rushed out of the Senate.

Nothing, he saw, could be done in Rome; every point was guarded against
him. Late that same night he left the city, committing the management of
affairs to Cethegus and Lentulus, and promising to return before long
with an army at his back. Halting awhile on his road, he wrote letters
to some of the chief senators, in which he declared that for the sake of
the public peace he should give up the struggle with his enemies and
quietly retire to Marseilles. What he really did was to make his way to
the camp of Manlius, where he assumed the usual state of a regular
military command. The Senate, on hearing of these doings, declared him
to be an outlaw. The consuls were to raise an army; Antonius was to
march against the enemy, and Cicero to protect the city.

Meanwhile the conspirators left behind in Rome had been busy. One of
the tribes of Gaul had sent deputies to the Capitol to obtain redress
for injuries of which they complained. The men had effected little or
nothing. The Senate neglected them. The help of officials could only be
purchased by heavy bribes. They were now heavily in debt both on their
own account and on account of their state, and Lentulus conceived the
idea of taking advantage of their needs. One of his freedmen, who had
been a trader in Gaul, could speak the language, and knew several of the
deputies, opened negotiations with them by his patron's desire. They
told him the tale of their wrongs. They could see, they said, no way out
of their difficulties. "Behave like men," he answered, "and I will show
you a way." He then revealed to them the existence of the conspiracy,
explained its objects, and enlarged upon the hopes of success. While he
and his friends were busy at Rome, they were to return to Gaul and rouse
their fellow-tribesmen to revolt. There was something tempting in the
offer, and the deputies doubted long whether they should not accept it.
In the end prudence prevailed. To join the conspiracy and to rebel
would be to run a terrible risk for very doubtful advantages. On the
other hand they might make sure of a speedy reward by telling all they
knew to the authorities. This was the course on which they resolved, and
they went without loss of time to a Roman noble who was the hereditary
"patron" of their tribe. The patron in his turn communicated the
intelligence to Cicero. Cicero's instructions were that the deputies
should pretend to agree to the proposals which had been made to them,
and should ask for a written agreement which they might show to their
countrymen at home. An agreement was drawn up, signed by Lentulus and
two of his fellow-conspirators, and handed over to the Gauls, who now
made preparations to return to their country. Cicero himself tells us in
the speech which he delivered next day in the Forum the story of what

"I summoned to my presence two of the praetors on whose courage I knew I
could rely, put the whole matter before them, and unfolded my own plans.
As it grew dusk they made their way unobserved to the Mulvian Bridge,
and posted themselves with their attendants (they had some trusty
followers of their own, and I had sent a number of picked swordsmen from
my own body-guard), in two divisions in houses on either side of the
bridge. About two o'clock in the morning the Gauls and their train,
which was very numerous, began to cross the bridge. Our men charged
them; swords were drawn on both sides; but before any blood was shed the
praetors appeared on the scene, and all was quiet. The Gauls handed over
to them the letters which they had upon them with their seals unbroken.
These and the deputies themselves were brought to my house. The day was
now beginning to dawn. Immediately I sent for the four men whom I knew
to be the principal conspirators. They came suspecting nothing,
Lentulus, who had been up late the night before writing the letters,
being the last to present himself. Some distinguished persons who had
assembled at my house wished me to open the letters before laying them
before the Senate. If their contents were not what I suspected I should
be blamed for having given a great deal of trouble to no purpose. I
refused in so important a matter to act on my own responsibility. No
one, I was sure, would accuse me of being too careful when the safety of
Rome was at stake. I called a meeting of the Senate, and took care that
the attendance should be very large. Meanwhile, at the suggestion of the
Gauls, I sent a praetor to the house of Cethegus to seize all the
weapons that he could find. He brought away a great number of daggers
and swords.

"The Senate being now assembled, I brought Vulturcius, one of the
conspirators, into the House, promised him a public pardon, and bade him
tell all he knew without fear. As soon as the man could speak, for he
was terribly frightened, he said, 'I was taking a letter and a message
from Lentulus to Catiline. Catiline was instructed to bring his forces
up to the walls of the city. They meanwhile would set it on fire in
various quarters, as had been arranged, and begin a general massacre. He
was to intercept the fugitives, and thus effect a junction with his
friends within the walls.' I next brought the Gauls into the House.
Their story was as follows. 'Lentulus and two of his companions gave us
letters to our nation. We were instructed to send our cavalry into Italy
with all speed. They would find a force of infantry. Lentulus told us
how he had learned from Sibylline books that he was that "third
Cornelius" who was the fated ruler of Rome. The two that had gone before
him were Cicero and Sulla. The year too was the one which was destined
to see the ruin of the city, for it was the tenth after the acquittal of
the Vestal Virgins, the twentieth after the burning of the Capitol.
After this Cethegus and the others had a dispute about the time for
setting the city on fire. Lentulus and others wished to have it done on
the feast of Saturn (December 17th). Cethegus thought that this was
putting it off too long.' I then had the letter brought in. First I
showed Cethegus his seal. He acknowledged it. I cut the string. I read
the letter. It was written in his own handwriting and was to this
effect: he assured the Senate and people of the Gauls that he would do
what he had promised to their deputies, and begged them on the other
hand to perform what their deputies had undertaken. Cethegus, who had
accounted for the weapons found in his house by declaring that he had
always been a connoisseur in such things, was overwhelmed by hearing his
letter read, and said nothing.

"Manlius next acknowledged his seal and handwriting. A letter from him
much to the same effect was read. He confessed his guilt. I then showed
Lentulus his letter, and asked him, 'Do you acknowledge the seal?' 'I
do,' he answered. 'Yes,' said I, 'it is a well-known device, the
likeness of a great patriot, your grandfather. The mere sight of it
ought to have kept you from such a crime as this.' His letter was then
read. I then asked him whether he had any explanation to give. 'I have
nothing to say,' was his first answer. After a while he rose and put
some questions to the Gauls. They answered him without any hesitation,
and asked him in reply whether he had not spoken to them about the
Sibylline books. What followed was the strangest proof of the power of
conscience. He might have denied every thing, but he did what no one
expected, he confessed; all his abilities, all his power of speech
deserted him. Vulturcius then begged that the letter which he was
carrying from Lentulus to Catiline should be brought in and opened.
Lentulus was greatly agitated; still he acknowledged the seal and the
handwriting to be his. The letter, which was unsigned, was in these
words: _You will know who I am by the messenger whom I send to you. Bear
yourself as a man. Think of the position in which you now are, and
consider what you must now do. Collect all the help you can, even though
it be of the meanest kind._ In a word, the case was made out against
them all not only by the seals, the letters, the handwritings, but by
the faces of the men, their downcast look, their silence. Their
confusion, their stealthy looks at each other were enough, if there had
been no other proof, to convict them."

Lentulus was compelled to resign his office of praetor. He and the other
conspirators were handed over to certain of the chief citizens, who were
bound to keep them in safe custody and to produce them when they were
called for.

The lower orders of the capital, to whom Catiline and his companions
had made liberal promises, and who regarded his plans, or what were
supposed to be his plans, with considerable favor, were greatly moved by
Cicero's account of what had been discovered. No one could expect to
profit by conflagration and massacre; and they were disposed to take
sides with the party of order. Still there were elements of danger, as
there always are in great cities. It was known that a determined effort
would be made by the clients of Lentulus, whose family was one of the
noblest and wealthiest in Rome, to rescue him from custody. At the same
time several of the most powerful nobles were strongly suspected of
favoring the revolutionists. Crassus, in particular, the wealthiest man
in Rome, was openly charged with complicity. A certain Tarquinius was
brought before the Senate, having been, it was said, arrested when
actually on his way to Catiline. Charged to tell all he knew, he gave
the same account as had been given by other witnesses of the
preparations for fire and massacre, and added that he was the bearer of
a special message from Crassus to Catiline, to the effect that he was
not to be alarmed by the arrest of Lentulus and the others; only he must
march upon the city without delay, and so rescue the prisoners and
restore the courage of those who were still at large. The charge seemed
incredible to most of those who heard it. Crassus had too much at stake
to risk himself in such perilous ventures. Those who believed it were
afraid to press it against so powerful a citizen; and there were many
who were under too great obligations to the accused to allow it,
whatever its truth or falsehood, to be insisted upon. The Senate
resolved that the charge was false, and that its author should be kept
in custody till he disclosed at whose suggestion he had come forward.
Crassus himself believed that the consul had himself contrived the whole
business, with the object of making it impossible for him to take the
part of the accused. "He complained to me," says Sallust the historian,
"of the great insult which had thus been put upon him by Cicero.".

Under these circumstances Cicero determined to act with vigor. On the
fifth of December he called a meeting of the Senate, and put it to the
House what should be done with the prisoners in custody. The consul
elect gave his opinion that they should be put to death. Caesar, when
his turn came to speak, rose and addressed the Senate. He did not seek
to defend the accused. They deserved any punishment. Because that was
so, let them be dealt with according to law. And the law was that no
Roman citizen could suffer death except by a general decree of the
people. If any other course should be taken, men would afterwards
remember not their crimes but the severity with which they had been
treated. Cato followed, giving his voice for the punishment of death;
and Cicero took the same side. The Senate, without dividing, voted that
the prisoners were traitors, and must pay the usual penalty.

The consul still feared that a rescue might be attempted. He directed
the officials to make all necessary preparations, and himself conducted
Lentulus to prison, the other criminals being put into the charge of the
praetors. The prison itself was strongly guarded. In this building,
which was situated under the eastern side of the Capitoline Hill, was a
pit twelve feet deep, said to have been constructed by King Tullius. It
had stone walls and a vaulted stone roof; it was quite dark, and the
stench and filth of the place were hideous. Lentulus was hurried into
this noisome den, where the executioners strangled him. His accomplices
suffered the same fate. The consul was escorted to his house by an
enthusiastic crowd. When he was asked how it had fared with the
condemned, he answered with the significant words "THEY HAVE LIVED."

The chief conspirator died in a less ignoble fashion. He had contrived
to collect about twelve thousand men; but only a fourth part of these
were regularly armed; the rest carried hunting spears, pikes, sharpened
stakes, any weapon that came to hand. At first he avoided an engagement,
hoping to hear news of something accomplished for his cause by the
friends whom he had left behind him in Rome. When the news of what had
happened on the fifth of December reached him, he saw that his position
was desperate. Many who had joined the ranks took the first opportunity
of deserting; with those that remained faithful he made a hurried march
to the north-west, hoping to make his way across the Apennines into
Hither Gaul. But he found a force ready to bar his way, while Antonius,
with the army from Rome, was pressing him from the south. Nothing
remained for him but to give battle. Early in the year 62 B.C. the
armies met. The rebel leader showed himself that day at his best. No
soldier could have been braver, no general more skillful. But the forces
arrayed against him were overpowering. When he saw that all was lost, he
rushed into the thickest of the fight, and fell pierced with wounds. He
was found afterwards far in advance of his men, still breathing and with
the same haughty expression on his face which had distinguished him in
life. And such was the contagious force of his example that not a single
free man of all his followers was taken alive either in the battle or in
the pursuit that followed it. Such was the end of a GREAT CONSPIRACY.



At eight-and-twenty, Caesar, who not thirty years later was to die
master of Rome, was chiefly known as a fop and a spendthrift. "In all
his schemes and all his policy," said Cicero, "I discern the temper of a
tyrant; but then when I see how carefully his hair is arranged, how
delicately with a single finger he scratches his head, I cannot conceive
him likely to entertain so monstrous a design as overthrowing the
liberties of Rome." As for his debts they were enormous. He had
contrived to spend his own fortune and the fortune of his wife; and he
was more than three hundred thousand pounds in debt. This was before he
had held any public office; and office, when he came to hold it,
certainly did not improve his position. He was appointed one of the
guardians of the Appian Way (the great road that led southward from
Rome, and was the route for travelers to Greece and the East). He spent
a great sum of money in repairs. His next office of aedile was still
more expensive. Expensive it always was, for the aedile, besides keeping
the temples and other public buildings in repair (the special business
signified by his name), had the management of the public games. An
allowance was made to him for his expenses from the treasury, but he was
expected, just as the Lord Mayor of London is expected, to spend a good
deal of his own money. Caesar far outdid all his predecessors. At one of
the shows which he exhibited, three hundred and twenty pairs of
gladiators fought in the arena; and a gladiator, with his armor and
weapons, and the long training which he had to undergo before he could
fight in public, was a very expensive slave. The six hundred and forty
would cost, first and last, not less than a hundred pounds apiece, and
many of them, perhaps a third of the whole number, would be killed in
the course of the day. Nor was he content with the expenses which were
more or less necessary. He exhibited a great show of wild beasts in
memory of his father, who had died nearly twenty years before. The whole
furniture of the theater, down to the very stage, was made on this
occasion of solid silver.

For all this seeming folly, there were those who discerned thoughts and
designs of no common kind. Extravagant expenditure was of course an
usual way of winning popular favors. A Roman noble bought office after
office till he reached one that entitled him to be sent to govern a
province. In the plunder of the province he expected to find what would
repay him all that he had spent and leave a handsome sum remaining.
Caesar looked to this end, but he looked also to something more. He
would be the champion of the people, and the people would make him the
greatest man at Rome. This had been the part played by Marius before
him; and he determined to play it again. The name of Marius had been in
ill repute since the victory of his great rival, Sulla, and Caesar
determined to restore it to honor. He caused statues of this great man
to be secretly made, on which were inscribed the names of the victories
by which he had delivered Rome from the barbarians. On the morning of
the show these were seen, splendid with gilding, upon the height of the
Capitol. The first feeling was a general astonishment at the young
magistrate's audacity. Then the populace broke out into expressions of
enthusiastic delight; many even wept for joy to see again the likeness
of their old favorite; all declared that Caesar was his worthy
successor. The nobles were filled with anger and fear. Catulus, who was
their leader, accused Caesar in the Senate. "This man," he said, "is no
longer digging mines against his country, he is bringing battering-rams
against it." The Senate, however, was afraid or unwilling to act. As for
the people, it soon gave the young man a remarkable proof of its favor.
What may be called the High Priesthood became vacant. It was an honor
commonly given to some aged man who had won victories abroad and borne
high honors at home. Such competitors there were on this occasion,
Catulus being one of them. But Caesar, though far below the age at which
such offices were commonly held, determined to enter the lists. He
refused the heavy bribe by which Catulus sought to induce him to
withdraw from the contest, saying that he would raise a greater sum to
bring it to a successful end. Indeed, he staked all on the struggle.
When on the day of election he was leaving his house, his mother
followed him to the door with tears in her eyes. He turned and kissed
her, "Mother," he said, "to-day you will see your son either High Priest
or an exile."

The fact was that Caesar had always shown signs of courage and ambition,
and had always been confident of his future greatness. Now that his
position in the country was assured men began to remember these stories
of his youth. In the days when Sulla was master of Rome, Caesar had been
one of the very few who had ventured to resist the great man's will.
Marius, the leader of the party, was his uncle, and he had himself
married the daughter of Cunia, another of the popular leaders. This wife
Sulla ordered him to divorce, but he flatly refused. For some time his
life was in danger; but Sulla was induced to spare it, remarking,
however, to friends who interceded for him, on the ground that he was
still but a boy, "You have not a grain of sense, if you do not see that
in this boy there is the material for many Mariuses." The young Caesar
found it safer to leave Italy for a time. While traveling in the
neighborhood of Asia Minor he fell into the hands of the pirates, who
were at that time the terror of all the Eastern Mediterranean. His first
proceeding was to ask them how much they wanted for his ransom. "Twenty
talents," (about five thousand pounds) was their answer. "What folly!"
he said, "you don't know whom you have got hold of. You shall have
fifty." Messengers were sent to fetch the money, and Caesar, who was
left with a friend and a couple of slaves, made the best of the
situation. If he wanted to go to sleep he would send a message
commanding his captors to be silent. He joined their sports, read poems
and speeches to them, and roundly abused them as ignorant barbarians if
they failed to applaud. But his most telling joke was threatening to
hang them. The men laughed at the free-spoken lad, but were not long in
finding that he was in most serious earnest. In about five weeks' time
the money arrived and Caesar was released. He immediately went to
Miletus, equipped a squadron, and returning to the scene of his
captivity, found and captured the greater part of the band. Leaving his
prisoners in safe custody at Pergamus, he made his way to the governor
of the province, who had in his hands the power of life and death. But
the governor, after the manner of his kind, had views of his own. The
pirates were rich and could afford to pay handsomely for their lives. He
would consider the case, he said. This was not at all to Caesar's mind.
He hastened back to Pergamus, and, taking the law into his own hands,
crucified all the prisoners.

This was the cool and resolute man in whom the people saw their best
friend and the nobles their worst enemy. These last seemed to see a
chance of ruining him when the conspiracy of Catiline was discovered and
crushed. He was accused, especially by Cato, of having been an
accomplice; and when he left the Senate after the debate in which he had
argued against putting the arrested conspirators to death, he was mobbed
by the gentlemen who formed Cicero's body-guard, and was even in danger
of his life. But the formal charge was never pressed; indeed it was
manifestly false, for Caesar was too sure of the favor of the people to
have need of conspiring to win it. The next year he was made praetor,
and after his term of office was ended, governor of Further Spain. The
old trouble of debt still pressed upon him, and he could not leave Rome
till he had satisfied the most pressing of his creditors. This he did by
help of Crassus, the richest man in Rome, who stood security for nearly
two hundred thousand pounds. To this time belong two anecdotes which,
whether true or no, are curiously characteristic of his character. He
was passing, on the way to his province, a town that had a particularly
mean and poverty-stricken look. One of his companions remarked, "I dare
say there are struggles for office even here, and jealousies and
parties." "Yes," said Caesar; "and indeed, for myself, I would sooner be
the first man here than the second in Rome." Arrived at his journey's
end, he took the opportunity of a leisure hour to read the life of
Alexander. He sat awhile lost in thought, then burst into tears. His
friends inquired the cause. "The cause?" he replied. "Is it not cause
enough that at my age Alexander had conquered half the world, while I
have done nothing?" Something, however, he contrived to do in Spain. He
extended the dominion of Rome as far as the Atlantic, settled the
affairs of the provincials to their satisfaction, and contrived at the
same time to make money enough to pay his debts. Returning to Rome when
his year of command was ended, he found himself in a difficulty. He
wished to have the honor of a triumph (a triumph was a procession in
which a victorious general rode in a chariot to the Capitol, preceded
and followed by the spoils and prisoners taken in his campaigns), and he
also wished to become a candidate for the consulship. But a general who
desired a triumph had to wait outside the gates of the city till it was
voted to him, while a candidate for the consulship must lose no time in
beginning to canvass the people. Caesar, having to make his choice
between the two, preferred power to show. He stood for the consulship,
and was triumphantly elected.

Once consul he made that famous Coalition which is commonly called the
First Triumvirate. Pompey was the most famous soldier of the day, and
Crassus, as has been said before, the richest man. These two had been
enemies, and Caesar reconciled them; and then the three together agreed
to divide power and the prizes of power between them. Caesar would have
willingly made Cicero a fourth, but he refused, not, perhaps, without
some hesitation. He did more; he ventured to say some things which were
not more agreeable because they were true of the new state of things.
This the three masters of Rome were not willing to endure, and they
determined that this troublesome orator should be put out of the way.
They had a ready means of doing it. A certain Clodius, of whom we shall
hear more hereafter, felt a very bitter hatred against Cicero, and by
way of putting himself in a position to injure him, and to attain other
objects of his own, sought to be made tribune. But there was a great
obstacle in the way. The tribunes were tribunes of the _plebs_, that is,
of the commons, whose interests they were supposed specially to protect;
while Clodius was a noble--indeed, a noble of nobles--belonging as he
did to that great Claudian House which was one of the oldest and
proudest of Roman families. The only thing to be done was to be adopted
by some plebeian. But here, again, there were difficulties. The law
provided that an adoption should be real, that the adopter should be
childless and old enough to be the father of his adopted son. The
consent of the priests was also necessary. This consent was never asked,
and indeed never could have been given, for the father was a married
man, had children of his own, and was not less than fifteen years,
younger than his new son. Indeed the bill for making the adoption legal
had been before the people for more than a year without making any
progress. The Three now took it up to punish Cicero for his presumption
in opposing them; and under its new promoters it was passed in a single
day, being proposed at noon made law by three o'clock in the afternoon
What mischief Clodius was thus enabled to work against Cicero we shall
hear in the next chapter but one.

His consulship ended, Caesar received a substantial prize for his
services, the government of the province of Gaul for five years. Before
he left Italy to take up his command, he had the satisfaction of seeing
Cicero driven into banishment. That done, he crossed the Alps. The next
nine years (for his government was prolonged for another period when the
first came to an end) he was engaged in almost incessant war, though
still finding time to manage the politics of Rome. The campaigns which
ended in making Gaul from the Alps to the British Channel, and from the
Atlantic to the Rhine, a Roman possession, it is not within my purpose
to describe. Nevertheless, it may be interesting to say a few words
about his dealings with our own island. In his first expedition, in the
summer of 55 B.C., he did little more than effect a landing on the
coast, and this not without considerable loss. In the next, made early
in the following year, he employed a force of more than forty thousand
men, conveyed in a flotilla of eight hundred ships. This time the
Britons did not venture to oppose his landing; and when they met him in
the field, as he marched inward, they were invariably defeated. They
then changed their tactics and retired before him, laying waste the
country as they went. He crossed the Thames some little way to the
westward of where London now stands, received the submission of one
native tribe, and finally concluded a peace with the native leader
Cassivelaunus, who gave hostages and promised tribute. The general
result of ten years' fighting was to add a great province to the empire
at the cost of a horrible amount of bloodshed, of the lives, as some
say, of two millions of men, women, and children (for Caesar, though not
positively cruel, was absolutely careless of suffering), and to leave
the conqueror master of the Roman world. The coalition indeed was broken
up, for Crassus had perished in the East, carrying on a foolish and
unprovoked war with the Parthians, and Pompey had come to fear and hate
his remaining rival. But Caesar was now strong enough to do without
friends, and to crush enemies. The Senate vainly commanded him to
disperse his army by a certain day, on pain of being considered an enemy
of the country. He continued to advance till he came to the boundaries
of Italy, a little river, whose name, the Rubicon, was then made famous
forever, which separated Cisalpine Gaul from Umbria. To cross this was
practically to declare war, and even the resolute Caesar hesitated
awhile. He thought his course over by himself; he even consulted his
friends. He professed himself pained at the thought of the war of which
his act would be the beginning, and of how posterity would judge his
conduct. Then with the famous words, "The die is cast," he plunged into
the stream. Pompey fled from Rome and from Italy. Caesar did not waste
an hour in pursuing his success. First making Italy wholly his own, he
marched into Spain, which was Pompey's stronghold, and secured it.
Thence he returned to Rome, and from Rome again made his way into
Macedonia, where Pompey had collected his forces. The decisive battle
was fought at Pharsalia in Thessaly; for though the remnants of Pompey's
party held out, the issue of the war was never doubtful after that day.

Returning to Rome (for of his proceedings in Egypt and elsewhere there
is no need to speak), he used his victory with as much mercy as he had
shown energy in winning it. To Cicero he showed not only nothing of
malice, but the greatest courtesy and kindness. He had written to him
from Egypt, telling him that he was to keep all his dignities and
honors; and he had gone out of his way to arrange an interview with him,
and he even condescended to enter into a friendly controversy. Cicero
had written a little treatise about his friend Cato; and as Cato had
been the consistent adversary of Caesar, and had killed himself rather
than fall into the hands of the master of Rome, it required no little
good nature in Caesar to take it in good part. He contented himself with
writing an answer, to which he gave the title of _Anti-Cato_, and in
which, while he showed how useless and unpractical the policy of Cato
had been, he paid the highest compliments to the genius and integrity of
the man. He even conferred upon Cicero the distinguished honor of a
visit; which the host thus describes in a letter to Atticus. "What a
formidable guest I have had! Still, I am not sorry; for all went off
very well. On December 8th he came to Philippus' house in the evening.
(Philippus was his brother-in-law.) The villa was so crammed with troops
that there was scarcely a chamber where the great man himself could
dine. I suppose there were two thousand men. I was really anxious what
might happen next day. But Barba Cassius came to my help, and gave me a
guard. The camp was pitched in the park; the house was strictly guarded.
On the 19th he was closeted with Philippus till one o'clock in the
afternoon. No one was admitted. He was going over accounts with Balbus,
I fancy. After this he took a stroll on the shore. Then came the bath.
He heard the epigram to Mamurra, (a most scurrilous epigram by
Catullus), and betrayed no annoyance. He dressed for dinner and sat
down. As he was under a course of medicine, he ate and drank without
apprehension and in the pleasantest humor. The entertainment was
sumptuous and elaborate; and not only this, but well cooked and seasoned
with good talk. The great man's attendants also were most abundantly
entertained in three other rooms. The inferior freedmen and the slaves
had nothing to complain of; the superior kind had an even elegant
reception. Not to say more, I showed myself a genial host. Still he was
not the kind of guest to whom we would say, 'My very dear sir, you will
come again, I hope, when you are this way next time.' There was nothing
of importance in our conversation, but much literary talk. What do you
want to know? He was gratified and seemed pleased to be with me. He told
me that he should be one day at Baiae, and another at Puteoli."

Within three months this remarkable career came to a sudden and violent
end. There were some enemies whom all Caesar's clemency and kindness had
not conciliated. Some hated him for private reasons of their own, some
had a genuine belief that if he could be put out of the way, Rome might
yet again be a free country. The people too, who had been perfectly
ready to submit to the reality of power, grew suspicious of some of its
outward signs. The name of King had been hateful at Rome since the last
bearer of it, Tarquin the Proud, had been driven out nearly seven
centuries before. There were now injudicious friends, or, it may be,
judicious enemies, who were anxious that Caesar should assume it. The
prophecy was quoted from the books of the Sibyl, that Rome might conquer
the Parthians if she put herself under the command of a king; otherwise
she must fail. On the strength of this Caesar was saluted by the title
of King as he was returning one day from Alba to the Capitol. The
populace made their indignation manifest, and he replied, "I am no king,
only Caesar;" but it was observed that he passed on with a gloomy air.
He bore himself haughtily in the Senate, not rising to acknowledge the
compliments paid to him. At the festival of the Lupercalia, as he sat
looking on at the sports in a gilded chair and clad in a triumphal robe,
Antony offered him a crown wreathed with bay leaves. Some applause
followed; it was not general, however, but manifestly got up for the
occasion. Caesar put the crown away, and the shout that followed could
not be misunderstood. It was offered again, and a few applauded as
before, while a second rejection drew forth the same hearty approval.
His statues were found with crowns upon them. These two tribunes
removed, and at the same time ordered the imprisonment of the men who
had just saluted him as king. The people were delighted, but Caesar had
them degraded from their office. The general dissatisfaction thus caused
induced the conspirators to proceed. Warnings, some of which we may
suppose to have come from those who were in the secret, were not
wanting. By these he was wrought upon so much that he had resolved not
to stir from his house on the day which he understood was to be fatal to
him; but Decimus Brutus, who was in the plot, dissuaded him from his
purpose. The scene that followed may be told once again in the words in
which Plutarch describes it: "Artemidoros, of Cnidus, a teacher of
Greek, who had thus come to be intimate with some of the associates of
Brutus, had become acquainted to a great extent with what was in
progress, and had drawn up a statement of the information which he had
to give. Seeing that Caesar gave the papers presented to him to the
slaves with him, he came up close and said, 'Caesar, read this alone and
that quickly: it contains matters that nearly concern yourself.' Caesar
took it, and would have read it, but was hindered by the crowd of
persons that thronged to salute him. Keeping it in his hand, he passed
into the House. In the place to which the Senate had been summoned stood
a statue of Pompey. Cassius is said to have looked at it and silently
invoked the dead man's help, and this though he was inclined to the
skeptical tenets of Epicurus. Meanwhile Antony, who was firmly attached
to Caesar and a man of great strength, was purposely kept in
conversation outside the senate-house by Decimus Brutus. As Caesar
entered, the Senate rose to greet him. Some of the associates of Brutus
stood behind his chair; others approached him in front, seemingly
joining their entreaties to those which Cimber Tullius was addressing to
him on behalf of his brother. He sat down and rejected the petition with
a gesture of disapproval at their urgency. Tullius then seized his toga
with both hands and dragged it from his neck. This was the signal for
attack. Casca struck him first on the neck. The wound was not fatal, nor
even serious, so agitated was the striker at dealing the first blow in
so terrible a deed. Caesar turned upon him, seized the dagger, and held
it fast, crying at the same time in Latin, 'Casca, thou villain, what
art thou about?' while Casca cried in Greek to his brother, 'Brother,
help!' Those senators who were not privy to the plot were overcome with
horror. They could neither cry nor help: they dared not even speak. The
conspirators were standing round Caesar each with a drawn sword in his
hand; whithersoever he turned his eyes he saw a weapon ready to strike,
and he struggled like a wild beast among the hunters. They had agreed
that every one should take a part in the murder, and Brutus, friend as
he was, could not hold back. The rest, some say, he struggled with,
throwing himself hither and thither, and crying aloud; but as soon as he
saw Brutus with a drawn sword in his hand, he wrapped his head in his
toga and ceased to resist, falling, whether by chance or by compulsion
from the assassins, at the pedestal of Pompey's statue. He is said to
have received three-and-twenty wounds. Many of his assailants struck
each other as they aimed repeated blows at his body." His funeral was a
remarkable proof of his popularity. The pit in which the body was to be
burned was erected in the Field of Mars. In the Forum was erected a
gilded model of the temple of Mother Venus. (Caesar claimed descent
through Aeneas from this goddess.) Within this shrine was a couch of
ivory, with coverlets of gold and purple, and at its head a trophy with
the robe which he had worn when he was assassinated. High officers of
state, past and present, carried the couch into the Forum. Some had the
idea of burning it in the chapel of Jupiter in the Capitol, some in
Pompey's Hall (where he was killed). Of a sudden two men, wearing swords
at their side, and each carrying two javelins, came forward and set
light to it with waxen torches which they held in their hands. The crowd
of bystanders hastily piled up a heap of dry brush-wood, throwing on it
the hustings, the benches, and any thing that had been brought as a
present. The flute players and actors threw off the triumphal robes in
which they were clad, rent them, and threw them upon the flames, and the
veterans added the decorations with which they had come to attend the
funeral, while mothers threw in the ornaments of their children.

The doors of the building in which the murder was perpetrated were
blocked up so that it never could be entered again. The day (the 15th of
March) was declared to be accursed. No public business was ever to be
done upon it.

These proceedings probably represented the popular feeling about the
deed, for Caesar, in addition to the genius which every one must have
recognized, had just the qualities which make men popular. He had no
scruples, but then he had no meannesses. He incurred enormous debts with
but a faint chance of paying them--no chance, we may say, except by the
robbery of others. He laid his hands upon what he wanted, taking for
instance three thousand pounds weight of gold from the treasury of the
Capitol and leaving gilded brass in its stead; and he plundered the
unhappy Gauls without remorse. But then he was as free in giving as he
was unscrupulous in taking. He had the personal courage, too, which is
one of the most attractive of all qualities. Again and again in battle
he turned defeat into victory. He would lay hold of the fugitives as
they ran, seize them by the throat, and get them by main force face to
face with the foe. Crossing the Hellespont after the battle of Pharsalia
in a small boat, he met two of the enemy's ships. Without hesitation he
discovered himself, called upon them to surrender, and was obeyed. At
Alexandria he was surprised by a sudden sally of the besieged, and had
to leap into the harbor. He swam two hundred paces to the nearest ship,
lifting a manuscript in his left hand to keep it out of the water, and
holding his military cloak in his teeth, for he would not have the enemy
boast of securing any spoil from his person.

He allowed nothing to stand in his way. If it suited his policy to
massacre a whole tribe, men, women, and children, he gave the order
without hesitation, just as he recorded it afterwards in his history
without a trace of remorse or regret. If a rival stood in his way he had
him removed, and was quite indifferent as to how the removal was
effected. But his object gained, or wherever there was no object in
question, he could be the kindest and gentlest of men. A friend with
whom he was traveling was seized with sudden illness. Caesar gave up at
once to him the only chamber in the little inn, and himself spent the
night in the open air. His enemies he pardoned with singular facility,
and would even make the first advances. Political rivals, once rendered
harmless, were admitted to his friendship, and even promoted to honor;
writers who had assailed him with the coarsest abuse he invited to his

Of the outward man this picture has reached us: "He is said to have been
remarkably tall, with a light complexion and well-shaped limbs. His face
was a little too full; his eyes black and brilliant. His health was
excellent, but towards the latter end of his life he was subject to
fainting fits and to frightful dreams at night. On two occasions also,
when some public business was being transacted, he had epileptic fits.
He was very careful of his personal appearance, had his hair and beard
scrupulously cut and shaven. He was excessively annoyed at the
disfigurement of baldness, which he found was made the subject of many
lampoons. It had become his habit, therefore, to bring up his scanty
locks over his head; and of all the honors decreed to him by the Senate
and people, none was more welcome to him than that which gave him the
right of continually wearing a garland of bay."

He was wonderfully skillful in the use of arms, an excellent swimmer,
and extraordinarily hardy. On the march he would sometimes ride, but
more commonly walk, keeping his head uncovered both in rain and
sunshine. He traveled with marvelous expedition, traversing a hundred
miles in a day for several days together; if he came to a river he would
swim it, or sometimes cross it on bladders. Thus he would often
anticipate his own messengers. For all this he had a keen appreciation
of pleasure, and was costly and even luxurious in his personal habits.
He is said, for instance, to have carried with him a tesselated pavement
to be laid down in his tent throughout his campaign in Gaul.



At an age when Caesar was still idling away his time, Pompey had
achieved honors such as the veteran generals of Rome were accustomed to
regard as the highest to which they could aspire. He had only just left,
if indeed he had left, school, when his father took him to serve under
him in the war against the Italian allies of Rome. He was not more than
nineteen when he distinguished himself by behaving in circumstances of
great difficulty and danger with extraordinary prudence and courage. The
elder Pompey, Strabo "the squint-eyed," as his contemporaries called
him, after their strange fashion of giving nicknames from personal
defects, and as he was content to call himself, was an able general, but
hated for his cruelty and avarice. The leaders of the opposite faction
saw an opportunity of getting rid of a dangerous enemy and of bringing
over to their own side the forces which he commanded. Their plan was to
assassinate the son as he slept, to burn the father in his tent, and at
the same time to stir up a mutiny among the troops. The secret, however,
was not kept. A letter describing the plot was brought to the young
Pompey as he sat at dinner with the ringleader. The lad showed no sign
of disturbance, but drank more freely than usual, and pledged his false
friend with especial heartiness. He then rose, and after putting an
extra guard on his father's tent, composed himself to sleep, but not in
his bed. The assassins stabbed the coverlet with repeated blows, and
then ran to rouse the soldiers to revolt. The camp was immediately in an
uproar, and the elder Pompey, though he had been preserved by his son's
precautions, dared not attempt to quell it. The younger man was equal to
the occasion. Throwing himself on his face in front of the gate of the
camp, he declared that if his comrades were determined to desert to the
enemy, they must pass over his dead body. His entreaties prevailed, and
a reconciliation was effected between the general and his troops.

Not many weeks after this incident the father died, struck, it was said,
by lightning, and Pompey became his own master. It was not long before
he found an opportunity of gaining still higher distinction. The civil
war still continued to rage, and few did better service to the party of
the aristocrats than Pompey. Others were content to seek their personal
safety in Sulla's camp; Pompey was resolved himself to do something for
the cause. He made his way to Picenum, where his family estates we e
situated and where his own influence was great, and raised three legions
(nearly twenty thousand men), with all their commissariat and transport
complete, and hurried to the assistance of Sulla. Three of the hostile
generals sought to intercept him. He fell with his whole force on one of
them, and crushed him, carrying off, besides his victory, the personal
distinction of having slain in single combat the champion of the
opposing force. The towns by which he passed eagerly hailed him as their
deliverer. A second commander who ventured to encounter him found
himself deserted by his army and was barely able to escape; a third was
totally routed. Sulla received his young partisan, who was not more than
twenty-three years of age, with distinguished honors, even rising from
his seat and uncovering at his approach.

During the next two years his reputation continued to increase. He won
victories in Gaul, in Sicily, and in Africa. As he was returning to
Rome after the last of these campaigns, the great Dictator himself
headed the crowd that went forth to meet him, and saluted him as Pompey
the Great, a title which he continued to use as his family name[5]. But
there was a further honor which the young general was anxious to obtain,
but Sulla was unwilling to grant, the supreme glory of a triumph. "No
one," he said, "who was not or had not been consul, or at least praetor,
could triumph. The first of the Scipios, who had won Spain from the
Carthaginians, had not asked for this honor because he wanted this
qualification. Was it to be given to a beardless youth, too young even
to sit in the Senate?" But the beardless youth insisted. He even had the
audacity to hint that the future belonged not to Sulla but to himself.
"More men," he said, "worship the rising than the setting sun." Sulla
did not happen to catch the words, but he saw the emotion they aroused
in the assembly, and asked that they should be repeated to him. His
astonishment permitted him to say nothing more than "Let him triumph!
Let him triumph." And triumph he did, to the disgust of his older
rivals, whom he intended, but that the streets were not broad enough to
allow of the display, still further to affront by harnessing elephants
instead of horses to his chariot.

[Footnote 5: _Pompeius_ was the name of his house (_gens). Strabo_ had
been the name of his family (_familia_). This he seems to have disused,
assuming _Magnus_ in its stead.]

Two years afterwards he met an antagonist more formidable than any he
had yet encountered. Sertorius, the champion at once of the party of the
people and of the native tribes of Spain, was holding out against the
government of Rome. The veteran leader professed a great contempt for
his young adversary, "I should whip the boy," he said, "if I were not
afraid of the old woman" (meaning Pompey's colleague). But he took good
care not to underrate him in practice, and put forth all his skill in
dealing with him. Pompey's first campaign against him was disastrous;
the successes of the second were checkered by some serious defeats. For
five years the struggle continued, and seemed little likely to come to
an end, when Sertorius was assassinated by his second in command,
Perpenna. Perpenna was unable to wield the power which he had thus
acquired, and was defeated and taken prisoner by Pompey. He endeavored
to save his life by producing the correspondence of Sertorius. This
implicated some of the most distinguished men in Rome, who had held
secret communications with the rebel leader and had even invited him
over into Italy. With admirable wisdom Pompey, while he ordered the
instant execution of the traitor, burned the letters unread.

Returning to Italy he was followed by his usual good fortune. That
country had been suffering cruelly from a revolt of the slaves, which
the Roman generals had been strangely slow in suppressing. Roused to
activity by the tidings of Pompey's approach, Crassus, who was in
supreme command, attacked and defeated the insurgent army. A
considerable body, however, contrived to escape, and it was this with
which Pompey happened to fall in, and which he completely destroyed.
"Crassus defeated the enemy," he was thus enabled to boast, "but I
pulled up the war by the roots." No honors were too great for a man at
once so skillful and so fortunate (for the Romans had always a great
belief in a general's good fortune). On the 31st of December, B.C. 71,
being still a simple gentleman--that is, having held no civil office in
the State--he triumphed for the second time, and on the following day,
being then some years below the legal age, and having held none of the
offices by which it was usual to mount to the highest dignity in the
commonwealth, he entered on his first consul ship, Crassus being his

Still he had not yet reached the height of his glory. During the years
that followed his consulship, the pirates who infested the Mediterranean
had become intolerable. Issuing, not as was the case in after times,
from the harbors of Northern Africa, but from fastnesses in the southern
coast of Asia Minor, they plundered the more civilized regions of the
West, and made it highly dangerous to traverse the seas either for
pleasure or for gain. It was impossible to transport the armies of Rome
to the provinces except in the winter, when the pirates had retired to
their strongholds. Even Italy itself was not safe. The harbor of Caieta
with its shipping, was burned under the very eye of the praetor. From
Misenum the pirates carried off the children of the admiral who had the
year before led an expedition against them. They even ventured not only
to blockade Ostia, the harbor of Rome, and almost within sight of the
city, but to capture the fleet that was stationed there. They were
especially insulting to Roman citizens. If a prisoner claimed to be
such--and the claim generally insured protection--they would pretend the
greatest penitence and alarm, falling on their knees before him, and
entreating his pardon. Then they would put shoes on his feet, and robe
him in a citizen's garb. Such a mistake, they would say, must not happen
again. The end of their jest was to make him "walk the plank," and with
the sarcastic permission to depart unharmed, they let down a ladder into
the sea, and compelled him to descend, under penalty of being still more
summarily thrown overboard. Men's eyes began to be turned on Pompey, as
the leader who had been prosperous in all his undertakings. In 67 B.C. a
law was proposed appointing a commander (who, however, was not named),
who should have absolute power for three years over the sea as far as
the Pillars of Hercules (the Straits of Gibraltar), and the coast for
fifty miles inland, and who should be furnished with two hundred ships,
as many soldiers and sailors as he wanted, and more than a million
pounds in money. The nobles were furious in their opposition, and
prepared to prevent by force the passing of this law. The proposer
narrowly escaped with his life, and Pompey himself was threatened. "If
you will be another Romulus, like Romulus you shall die" (one form of
the legend of Rome's first king represented him as having been torn to
pieces by the senators.) But all resistance was unavailing. The new
command was created, and of course bestowed upon Pompey. The price of
corn, which had risen to a famine height in Rome, fell immediately the
appointment was made. The result, indeed, amply justified the choice.
The new general made short work of the task that had been set him. Not
satisfied with the force put under his command, he collected five
hundred ships and one hundred and twenty thousand men. With these he
swept the pirates from the seas and stormed their strongholds, and all
in less than three months. Twenty thousand prisoners fell into his
hands. With unusual humanity he spared their lives, and thinking that
man was the creature of circumstances, determined to change their manner
of life. They were to be removed from the sea, should cease to be
sailors, and become farmers. It is possible that the old man of Corycus,
whose skill in gardening Virgil celebrates in one of his Georgics, was
one of the pirates whom the judicious mercy of Pompey changed into a
useful citizen.

A still greater success remained to be won. For more than twenty years
war, occasionally intercepted by periods of doubtful peace, had been
carried on between Rome and Mithridates, king of Pontus. This prince,
though reduced more than once to the greatest extremities, had contrived
with extraordinary skill and courage to retrieve his fortunes, and now
in 67 B.C. was in possession of the greater part of his original
dominion. Lucullus, a general of the greatest ability, was in command of
the forces of Rome, but he had lost the confidence of his troops, and
affairs were at a standstill. Pompey's friends proposed that the
supreme command should be transferred to him, and the law, which Cicero
supported in what is perhaps the most perfect of his political
speeches[6], was passed. Pompey at once proceeded to the East. For four
years Mithridates held out, but with little hope of ultimate success or
even of escape. In 64, after vainly attempting to poison himself, such
was the power of the antidotes by which he had fortified himself against
domestic treachery (for so the story runs), he perished by the sword of
one of his mercenaries. For two years more Pompey was busied in settling
the affairs of the East. At last, in 61, he returned to Rome to enjoy a
third triumph, and that the most splendid which the city had ever
witnessed. It lasted for two days, but still the time was too short for
the display of the spoils of victory. The names of no less than fifteen
conquered nations were carried in procession. A thousand forts, nine
hundred cities, had been taken, and the chief of them were presented by
means of pictures to the eyes of the people. The revenue of the State
had been almost doubled by these conquests. Ninety thousand talents in
gold and silver coin were paid into the treasury, nor was this at the
expense of the soldiers, whose prize money was so large that the
smallest share amounted to fifty pounds. Never before was such a sight
seen in the world, and if Pompey had died when it was finished, he would
have been proclaimed the most fortunate of mankind.

[Footnote 6: The Pro Lege Manilia. The law was proposed by one Manilius,
a tribune of the people.]

Certainly he was never so great again as he was that day. When with
Caesar and Crassus he divided all the power of the State, he was only
the second, and by far the second, of the three. His influence, his
prestige, his popularity declined year by year. The good fortune which
had followed him without ceasing from his earliest years now seemed to
desert him. Even the shows, the most magnificent ever seen in the city,
with which he entertained the people at the dedication of his theater
(built at his own expense for the public benefit) were not wholly a
success. Here is a letter of Cicero about them to his friend Marius;
interesting as giving both a description of the scene and as an account
of the writer's own feelings about it. "If it was some bodily pain or
weakness of health that kept you from coming to the games, I must
attribute your absence to fortune rather than to a judicious choice. But
if you thought the things which most men admire contemptible, and so,
though health permitted, would not come, then I am doubly glad; glad
both that you were free from illness and that you were so vigorous in
mind as to despise the sights which others so unreasonably admire....
Generally the shows were most splendid, but not to your taste, if I may
judge of yours by my own. First, the veteran actors who for their own
honor had retired from the stage, returned to it to do honor to Pompey.
Your favorite, my dear friend Aesopus, acquitted himself so poorly as to
make us all feel that he had best retire. When he came to the oath--

     'And if of purpose set I break my faith,'

his voice failed him. What need to tell you more? You know all about the
other shows; they had not even the charm which moderate shows commonly
have. The ostentation with which they were furnished forth took away all
their gayety. What charm is there in having six hundred mules in the
_Clytemnestra_ or three thousand supernumeraries in the _Trojan Horse,_
or cavalry and infantry in foreign equipment in some battle-piece. The
populace admired all this; but it would have given you no kind of
pleasure. After this came a sort of wild-beast fights, lasting for five
days. They were splendid: no man denies it. But what man of culture can
feel any pleasure when some poor fellow is torn in pieces by some
powerful animal, or when some noble animal is run through with a hunting
spear. If these things are worth seeing, you have seen them before. And
I, who was actually present, saw nothing new. The last day was given up
to the elephants. Great was the astonishment of the crowd at the sight;
but of pleasure there was nothing. Nay, there was some feeling of
compassion, some sense that this animal has a certain kinship with man."
The elder Pliny tells us that two hundred lions were killed on this
occasion, and that the pity felt for the elephants rose to the height of
absolute rage. So lamentable was the spectacle of their despair, so
pitifully did they implore the mercy of the audience, "that the whole
multitude rose in tears and called down upon Pompey the curses which
soon descended on him."

And then Pompey's young wife, Julia, Caesar's daughter, died. She had
been a bond of union between the two men, and the hope of peace was
sensibly lessened by her loss. Perhaps the first rupture would have
come any how; when it did come it found Pompey quite unprepared for the
conflict. He seemed indeed to be a match for his rival, but his strength
collapsed almost at a touch. "I have but to stamp with my foot," he said
on one occasion, "and soldiers will spring up;" yet when Caesar declared
war by crossing the Rubicon, he fled without a struggle. In little more
than a year and a half all was over. The battle of Pharsalia was fought
on the 9th of August, and on September the 29th the man who had
triumphed over three continents lay a naked, headless corpse on the
shore of Egypt.



The suppression of the "Great Conspiracy" was certainly the most
glorious achievement of Cicero's life. Honors such as had never before
been bestowed on a citizen of Rome were heaped upon him. Men of the
highest rank spoke of him both in the Senate and before the people as
the "Father of his fatherland." A public thanksgiving, such as was
ordered when great victories had been won, was offered in his name.
Italy was even more enthusiastic than the capital. The chief towns voted
him such honors as they could bestow; Capua in particular erected to him
a gilded statue, and gave him the title of Patron of the city.

Still there were signs of trouble in the future. It was the duty of the
consul on quitting office to swear that he had discharged his duty with
fidelity, and it was usual for him at the same time to make a speech in
which he narrated the events of his consulship. Cicero was preparing to
speak when one of the new tribunes intervened. "A man," he cried, "who
has put citizens to death without hearing them in their defense is not
worthy to speak. He must do nothing more than take the oath." Cicero was
ready with his answer. Raising his voice he said, "I swear that I, and I
alone, have saved this commonwealth and this city." The assembly shouted
their approval; and when the ceremony was concluded the whole multitude
escorted the ex-consul to his house. The time was not come for his
enemies to attack him; but that he had enemies was manifest.

With one dangerous man he had the misfortune to come into collision in
the year that followed his consulship. This was the Clodius of whom we
have heard something in the preceding chapter. The two men had hitherto
been on fairly good terms. Clodius, as we have seen, belonged to one of
the noblest families in Rome, was a man of some ability and wit, and
could make himself agreeable when he was pleased to do so. But events
for which Cicero was not in the least to blame brought about a life-long
enmity between them. Toward the close of the year Clodius had been
guilty of an act of scandalous impiety, intruding himself, disguised as
a woman, into some peculiarly sacred rites which the matrons of Rome
were accustomed to perform in honor of the "Good Goddess." He had
powerful friends, and an attempt was made to screen him, which Cicero,
who was genuinely indignant at the fellow's wickedness, seems to have
resisted. In the end he was put upon his trial, though it was before a
jury which had been specially packed for the occasion. His defense was
an _alibi_, an attempt, that is, to prove that he was elsewhere on the
night when he was alleged to have misconducted himself at Rome. He
brought forward witnesses who swore that they had seen him at the very
time at Interamna, a town in Umbria, and a place which was distant at
least two days' journey from Rome. To rebut this evidence Cicero was
brought forward by the prosecution. As he stepped forward the partisans
of the accused set up a howl of disapproval. But the jury paid him the
high compliment of rising from their seats, and the uproar ceased. He
deposed that Clodius had been at his house on the morning of the day in

Clodius was acquitted. If evidence had any thing to do with the result,
it was the conduct of Caesar that saved him. It was in his house that
the alleged intrusion had taken place, and he had satisfied himself by a
private examination of its inmates that the charge was true. But now he
professed to know nothing at all about the matter. Probably the really
potent influence in the case was the money which Crassus liberally
distributed among the jurors. The fact of the money was indeed
notorious. Some of the jury had pretended that they were in fear of
their lives, and had asked for a guard. "A guard!" said Catulus, to one
of them, "what did you want a guard for? that the money should not be
taken from you?"

But Clodius, though he had escaped, never forgave the man whose evidence
had been given against him. Cicero too felt that there as war to the
knife between them. On the first meeting of the Senate after the
conclusion of the trial he made a pointed attack upon his old
acquaintance. "Lentulus," he said, "was twice acquitted, and Catiline
twice, and now this third malefactor has been let loose on the
commonwealth by his judges. But, Clodius, do not misunderstand what has
happened. It is for the prison, not for the city, that your judges have
kept you; not to keep you in the country, but to deprive you of the
privilege of exile was what they intended. Be of good cheer, then,
Fathers. No new evil has come upon us, but we have found out the evil
that exists. One villain has been put upon his trial, and the result has
taught us that there are more villains than one."

Clodius attempted to banter his antagonist. "You are a fine gentleman,"
he said; "you have been at Baiae" (Baiae was a fashionable
watering-place on the Campanian coast). "Well," said Cicero, "that is
better than to have been at the 'matrons' worship.'" And the attack and
repartee went on. "You have bought a fine house." (Cicero had spent a
large sum of money on a house on the Palatine, and was known to have
somewhat crippled his means by doing so.) "With you the buying has been
of jurymen." "They gave you no credit though you spoke on oath." "Yes;
five-and-twenty gave me credit" (five-and-twenty of the jury had voted
for a verdict of guilty; two-and-thirty for acquittal), "but your
thirty-two gave you none, for they would have their money down." The
Senate shouted applause, and Clodius sat down silent and confounded.

How Clodius contrived to secure for himself the office of tribune, the
vantage ground from which he hoped to work his revenge, has been
already told in the sketch of Caesar. Caesar indeed was really
responsible for all that was done. It was he who made it possible for
Clodius to act; and he allowed him "to act when he could have stopped
him by the lifting of his finger. He was determined to prove to Cicero
that he was master. But he never showed himself after the first
interference in the matter of the adoption. He simply allowed Clodius to
work his will without hindrance.

Clodius proceeded with considerable skill. He proposed various laws,
which were so popular that Cicero, though knowing that they would be
turned against himself, did not venture to oppose them. Then came a
proposal directly leveled at him. "Any man who shall have put to death a
Roman citizen uncondemned and without a trial is forbidden fire and
water." (This was the form of a sentence of exile. No one was allowed
under penalty of death to furnish the condemned with fire and water
within a certain distance of Rome.) Cicero at once assumed the squalid
dress with which it was the custom for accused persons to endeavor to
arouse the compassion of their fellow-citizens. Twenty thousand of the
upper classes supported him by their presence. The Senate itself, on the
motion of one of the tribunes, went into this strange kind of mourning
on his account.

The consuls of the year were Gabinus and Piso. The first was notoriously
hostile, of the second Cicero hoped to make a friend, the more so as he
was a kinsman of his daughter's husband. He gives a lively picture of an
interview with him. "It was nearly eleven o'clock in the morning when we
went to him. He came out of a dirty hovel to meet us, with his slippers
on, and his head muffled up. His breath smelt most odiously of wine; but
he excused himself on the score of his health, which compelled him, he
said, to use medicines in which wine was employed." His answer to the
petition of his visitors (for Cicero was accompanied by his son-in-law)
was at least commendably frank. "My colleague Gabinius is in absolute
poverty, and does not know where to turn. Without a province he must be
ruined. A province he hopes to get by the help of Clodius, but it must
be by my acting with him. I must humor his wishes, just as you, Cicero,
humored your colleague when you were consul. But indeed there is no
reason why you should seek the consul's protection. Every one must look
out for himself."

In default of the consuls there was still some hope that Pompey might be
induced to interfere, and Cicero sought an interview with him. Plutarch
says that he slipped out by a back door to avoid seeing him; but
Cicero's own account is that the interview was granted. "When I threw
myself at his feet" (he means I suppose, humiliated himself by asking
such a favor), "he could not lift me from the ground. He could do
nothing, he said, against the will of Caesar."

Cicero had now to choose between two courses. He might stay and do his
best with the help of his friends, to resist the passing of the law. But
this would have ended, it was well known, in something like an open
battle in the streets of Rome. Clodius and his partisans were ready to
carry their proposal by force of arms, and would yield to nothing but
superior strength. It was possible, even probable, that in such a
conflict Cicero would be victorious. But he shrank from the trial, not
from cowardice, for he had courage enough when occasion demanded, not
even from unwillingness to risk the lives of his friends, though this
weighed somewhat with him, but chiefly because he hated to confess that
freedom was becoming impossible in Rome, and that the strong hand of a
master was wanted to give any kind of security to life and property. The
other course was to anticipate the sentence and to go into voluntary
exile. This was the course which his most powerful friends pressed upon
him, and this was the course which he chose. He left Rome, intending to
go to Sicily, where he knew that he should find the heartiest of

Immediately on his departure Clodius formally proposed his banishment.
"Let it be enacted," so ran the proposition, "that, seeing that Marcus
Tullius Cicero has put Roman citizens to death without trial, forging
thereto the authority of the Senate, that he be forbidden fire and
water; that no one harbor or receive him on pain of death; and that
whosoever shall move, shall vote, or take any steps for the recalling of
him, be dealt with as a public enemy." The bill was passed, the distance
within which it was to operate being fixed at four hundred miles. The
houses of the banished man were razed to the ground, the site of the
mansion on the. Palatine, being dedicated to Liberty. His property was
partly plundered, partly sold by auction.

Cicero meanwhile had hurried to the south of Italy. He found shelter for
a while at the farm of a friend near Vibo in Brutii (now the Abruzzi),
but found it necessary to leave this place because it was within the
prescribed limits. Sicily was forbidden to him by its governor, who,
though a personal friend, was unwilling to displease the party in power.
Athens, which for many reasons he would have liked to choose for his
place of exile, was unsafe. He had bitter enemies there, men who had
been mixed up in Catiline's conspiracy. The place, too, was within the
distance, and though this was not very strictly insisted upon--as a
matter of fact, he did spend the greater part of his banishment inside
the prescribed limit--it might at any moment be made a means of
annoyance. Atticus invited him to take up his residence at his seat at
Buthrotum in Epirus (now Albania). But the proposal did not commend
itself to his taste. It was out of the way, and would be very dreary
without the presence of its master, who was still at Rome, and
apparently intended to remain there. After staying for about a fortnight
at a friend's house near Dyrrachium--the town itself, where he was once
very popular, for fear of bringing some trouble upon it, he refused to
enter--he crossed over to Greece, and ultimately settled himself at

Long afterward he tells us of a singular dream which seems to have given
him some little comfort at this time. "I had lain awake for the greater
part of the night, but fell into a heavy slumber toward morning. I was
at the point of starting, but my host would not allow me to be waked. At
seven o'clock, however, I rose, and then told my friend this dream. I
seemed to myself to be wandering disconsolately in some lonely place
when the great Marius met me. His lictors were with him, their _fasces_
wreathed with bays. 'Why are you so sad?' he asked me. 'I have been
wrongly banished from my country,' I answered. He then took my hand, and
turning to the nearest lictor, bade him lead me to his own Memorial
Hall. 'There,' he said, 'you will be safe.'" His friend declared that
this dream portended a speedy and honorable return. Curiously enough it
was in the Hall of Marius that the decree repealing the sentence of
banishment was actually proposed and passed.

For the most part he was miserably unhappy and depressed. In letter
after letter he poured out to Atticus his fears, his complaints, and his
wants. Why had he listened to the bad advice of his friends? He had
wished to stay at Rome and fight out the quarrel. Why had Hortensius
advised him to retire from the struggle? It must have been jealousy,
jealousy of one whom he knew to be a more successful advocate than
himself. Why had Atticus hindered his purposes when he thought of
putting an end to all his trouble by killing himself? Why were all his
friends, why was Atticus himself, so lukewarm in his cause? In one
letter he artfully reproaches himself for his neglect of his friends in
times past as the cause of their present indifference. But the reproach
is of course really leveled at them.

"If ever," he writes in one letter, "fortune shall restore me to my
country and to you, I will certainly take care that of all my friends;
none shall be more rejoiced than you. All my duty to you, a duty which I
must own in time past was sadly wanting, shall be so faithfully
discharged that you will feel that I have been restored to you quite as
much as I shall have been restored to my brother and to my children. For
whatever I have wronged you, and indeed because I have wronged you,
pardon me; for I have wronged myself far worse. I do not write this as
not knowing that you feel the very greatest trouble on my account; but
if you were and had been under the obligation to love me, as much as you
actually do love me and have loved me, you never would have allowed me
to lack the wise advice which you have so abundantly at your command."
This is perhaps a little obscure, as it is certainly somewhat subtle;
but Cicero means that Atticus had not interested himself in his affairs
as much as he would have felt bound to do, if he (Cicero) had been less
remiss in the duties of friendship.

To another correspondent, his wife Terentia, he poured out his heart yet
more freely. "Don't think," he writes in one of his letters to her,
"that I write longer letters to others than to you, except indeed I have
received some long communication which I feel I must answer. Indeed I
have nothing to write; and in these days I find it the most difficult of
duties. Writing to you and to my dearest Tullia I never can do without
floods of tears. I see you are utterly miserable, and I wanted you to be
completely happy. I might have made you so. I could have made you had I
been less timid.... My heart's delight, my deepest regret is to think
that you, to whom all used to look for help, should now be involved in
such sorrow, such distress! and that I should be to blame, I who saved
others only to ruin myself and mine!... As for expenditure, let others,
who can if they will, undertake it. And if you love me, don't distress
your health, which is already, I know, feeble. All night, all day I
think of you. I see that you are undertaking all imaginable labors on my
behalf; I only fear that you will not be able to endure them. I am aware
that all depends upon you. If we are to succeed in what you wish and are
now trying to compass, take care of your health." In another he writes:
"Unhappy that I am! to think that one so virtuous, so loyal, so honest,
so kind, should be so afflicted, and all on my account. And my dearest
Tullia, too, that she should be so unhappy about a father in whom she
once found so much happiness. And what shall I say about my dear little
Cicero? That he should feel the bitterest sorrow and trouble as soon as
he began to feel any thing! If all this was really, as you write, the
work of fate, I could endure it a little more easily; but it was all
brought about by my fault, thinking that I was loved by men who really
were jealous of me, and keeping aloof from others who were really on my

This is, perhaps, a good opportunity of saying something about the lady
herself. Who she was we do not certainly know. There was a family of the
name in Rome, the most notable of whom perhaps was the Terentius
Varro[7] whose rashness brought upon his country the terrible disaster
of the defeat of Cannae. She had a half-sister, probably older than
herself, of the name of Fabia, who was a vestal virgin. She brought her
husband, to whom she was married about 78 B.C., a fair dowry, about
three thousand five hundred pounds. We have seen how affectionately
Cicero writes to her during his exile. She is his darling, his only
hope; the mere thought of her makes his eyes overflow with tears. And
she seems to have deserved all his praise and affection, exerting
herself to the utmost to help him, and ready to impoverish herself to
find him the means that he needed. Four letters of this period have been
preserved. There are twenty others belonging to the years 50-47 B.C. The
earlier of these are sufficiently affectionate. When he is about to
return to Rome from his province (Cilicia), she is still the most
amiable, the dearest of women. Then we begin to see signs of coolness,
yet nothing that would strike us did we not know what was afterwards to
happen. He excuses the rarity of his letters. There is no one by whom to
send them. If there were, he was willing to write. The greetings became
formal, the superlatives "dearest," "fondest," "best," are dropped. "You
are glad," he writes after the battle of Pharsalia had dashed his hopes,
"that I have got back safe to Italy; I hope that you may continue to be
glad." "Don't think of coming," he goes on, "it is a long journey and
not very safe; and I don't see what good you would do if you should
come." In another letter he gives directions about getting ready his
house at Tusculum for the reception of guests. The letter is dated on
the first of October, and he and his friends would come probably to stay
several days, on the seventh. If there was not a tub in the bath-room,
one must be provided. The greeting is of the briefest and most formal.
Meanwhile we know from what he writes to Atticus that he was greatly
dissatisfied with the lady's conduct. Money matters were at the bottom
of their quarrel. She was careless, he thinks, and extravagant. Though
he was a rich man, yet he was often in need of ready money, and Terentia
could not be relied upon to help him. His vexation takes form in a
letter to Atticus. "As to Terentia--there are other things without
number of which I don't speak--what can be worse than this? You wrote to
her to send me bills for one hundred and eight pounds; for there was so
much money left in hand. She sent me just ninety pounds, and added a
note that this was all. If she was capable of abstracting such a trifle
from so small a sum, don't you see what she would have done in matters
of real importance?" The quarrel ended in a divorce, a thing far more
common than, happily, it is among ourselves, but still a painful and
discreditable end to an union which had lasted for more than
five-and-twenty years. Terentia long survived her husband, dying in
extreme old age (as much, it was said, as a hundred and three years),
far on in the reign of Augustus; and after a considerable experience of
matrimony, if it be true that she married three or even, according to
some accounts, four other husbands.

[Footnote 7: Another of the same name was an eminent man of letters of
Cicero's own time.]

Terentia's daughter, Tullia, had a short and unhappy life. She was born,
it would seem, about 79 B.C., and married when fifteen or sixteen to a
young Roman noble, Piso Frugi by name. "The best, the most loyal of
men," Cicero calls him. He died in 57 B.C., and Rome lost, if his
father-in-law's praises of him may be trusted, an orator of the very
highest promise. "I never knew any one who surpassed my son-in-law,
Piso, in zeal, in industry, and, I may fairly say, in ability." The next
year she married a certain Crassipes, a very shadowy person indeed. We
know nothing of what manner of man he was, or what became of him. But in
50 B.C. Tullia was free to marry again. Her third venture was of her own
or her mother's contriving. Her father was at his government in Cilicia,
and he hears of the affair with surprise. "Believe me," he writes to
Atticus, "nothing could have been less expected by me. Tiberius Nero had
made proposals to me, and I had sent friends to discuss the matter with
the ladies. But when they got to Rome the betrothal had taken place.
This, I hope, will be a better match. I fancy the ladies were very much
pleased with the young gentleman's complaisance and courtesy, but do not
look for the thorns." The "thorns," however, were there. A friend who
kept Cicero acquainted with the news of Rome, told him as much, though
he wraps up his meaning in the usual polite phrases. "I congratulate
you," he writes, "on your alliance with one who is, I really believe, a
worthy fellow. I do indeed think this of him. If there have been some
things in which he has not done justice to himself, these are now past
and gone; any traces that may be left will soon, I am sure, disappear,
thanks to your good influence and to his respect for Tullia. He is not
offensive in his errors, and does not seem slow to appreciate better
things." Tullia, however, was not more successful than other wives in
reforming her husband. Her marriage seems to have been unhappy almost
from the beginning. It was brought to an end by a divorce after about
three years. Shortly afterward Tullia, who could have been little more
than thirty, died, to the inconsolable grief of her father. "My grief,"
he writes to Atticus, "passes all consolation. Yet I have done what
certainly no one ever did before, written a treatise for my own
consolation. (I will send you the book if the copyists have finished
it.) And indeed there is nothing like it. I write day after day, and all
day long; not that I can get any good from it, but it occupies me a
little, not much indeed; the violence of my grief is too much for me.
Still I am soothed, and do my best to compose, not my feelings, indeed,
but, if I can, my face." And again: "Next to your company nothing is
more agreeable to me than solitude. Then all my converse is with books;
yet this is interrupted by tears; these I resist as well as I can; but
at present I fail." At one time he thought of finding comfort in unusual
honors to the dead. He would build a shrine of which Tullia should be
the deity. "I am determined," he writes, "on building the shrine. From
this purpose I cannot be turned ... Unless the building be finished this
summer, I shall hold myself guilty." He fixes upon a design. He begs
Atticus, in one of his letters, to buy some columns of marble of Chios
for the building. He discusses the question of the site. Some gardens
near Rome strike him as a convenient place. It must be conveniently near
if it is to attract worshipers. "I would sooner sell or mortgage, or
live on little, than be disappointed." Then he thought that he would
build it on the grounds of his villa. In the end he did not build it at
all. Perhaps the best memorial of Tullia is the beautiful letter in
which one of Cicero's friends seeks to console him for his loss. "She
had lived," he says, "as long as life was worth living, as long as the
republic stood." One passage, though it has often been quoted before, I
must give. "I wish to tell you of something which brought me no small
consolation, hoping that it may also somewhat diminish your sorrow. On
my way back from Asia, as I was sailing from Aeigina to Megara, I began
to contemplate the places that lay around me. Behind me was Aegina,
before me Megara; on my right hand the Piraeus, on my left hand Corinth;
towns all of them that were once at the very height of prosperity, but
now lie ruined and desolate before our eyes. I began thus to reflect:
'Strange! do we, poor creatures of a day, bear it ill if one of us
perish of disease, or are slain with the sword, we whose life is bound
to be short, while the dead bodies of so many lie here inclosed within
so small a compass?"

But I am anticipating. When Cicero was in exile the republic had yet
some years to live; and there were hopes that it might survive
altogether. The exile's prospects, too, began to brighten. Caesar had
reached for the present the height of his ambition, and was busy with
his province of Gaul. Pompey had quarreled with Clodius, whom he found
to be utterly unmanageable. And Cicero's friend, one Milo, of whom I
shall have to say more hereafter, being the most active of them all,
never ceased to agitate for his recall. It would be tedious to recall
all the vicissitudes of the struggle. As early as May the Senate passed
a resolution repealing the decree of banishment, the news of it having
caused an outburst of joy in the city. Accius' drama of "Telamon" was
being acted at the time, and the audience applauded each senator as he
entered the Senate, and rose from their places to greet the consul as he
came in. But the enthusiasm rose to its height when the actor who was
playing the part of Telamon (whose banishment from his country formed
part of the action of the drama) declaimed with significant emphasis the
following lines--

   What! he--the man who still with steadfast heart
   Strove for his country, who in perilous days
   Spared neither life nor fortune, and bestowed
   Most help when most she needed; who surpassed
   In wit all other men. Father of Gods,
   _His_ house--yea, _his_!--I saw devoured by fire;
   And ye, ungrateful, foolish, without thought
   Of all wherein he served you, could endure
   To see him banished; yea, and to this hour
   Suffer that he prolong an exile's day.

Still obstacle after obstacle was interposed, and it was not till the
fourth of August that the decree passed through all its stages and
became finally law. Cicero, who had been waiting at the point of Greece
nearest to Italy, to take the earliest opportunity of returning, had
been informed by his friends that he might now safely embark. He sailed
accordingly on the very day when the decree was passed, and reached
Brundisium on the morrow. It happened to be the day on which the
foundation of the colony was celebrated, and also the birthday of
Tullia, who had come so far to meet her father. The coincidence was
observed by the towns-people with delight. On the eighth the welcome
news came from Rome, and Cicero set out for the capital. "All along my
road the cities of Italy kept the day of my arrival as a holiday; the
ways were crowded with the deputations which were sent from all parts to
congratulate me. When I approached the city, my coming was honored by
such a concourse of men, such a heartiness of congratulation as are past
believing. The way from the gates, the ascent of the Capitol, the return
to my home made such a spectacle that in the very height of my joy I
could not but be sorry that a people so grateful had yet been so
unhappy, so cruelly oppressed." "That day," he said emphatically, "that
day was as good as immortality to me."



Clodius, who had taken the lead in driving Cicero into exile, was of
course furious at his return, and continued to show him an unceasing
hostility. His first care was to hinder the restoration of his property.
He had contrived to involve part at least of this in a considerable
difficulty. Cicero's house on the Palatine Hill had been pulled down and
the area dedicated--so at least Clodius alleged--to the Goddess of
Liberty. If this was true, it was sacred forever; it could not be
restored. The question was, Was it true? This question was referred to
the Pontiffs as judges of such matters. Cicero argued the case before
them, and they pronounced in his favor. It was now for the Senate to
act. A motion was made that the site should be restored. Clodius opposed
it, talking for three hours, till the anger of his audience compelled
him to bring his speech to an end. One of the tribunes in his interest
put his veto on the motion, but was frightened into withdrawing it. But
Clodius was not at the end of his resources. A set of armed ruffians
under his command drove out the workmen who were rebuilding the house. A
few days afterwards he made an attack on Cicero himself. He was wounded
in the struggle which followed, and might, says Cicero, have been
killed, "but," he adds, "I am tired of surgery."

Pompey was another object of his hatred, for he knew perfectly well that
without his consent his great enemy would not have been restored. Cicero
gives a lively picture of a scene in the Senate, in which this hatred
was vigorously expressed. "Pompey spoke, or rather wished to speak; for,
as soon as he rose, Clodius' hired ruffians shouted at him. All through
his speech it was the same; he was interrupted not only by shouts but by
abuse and curses. When he came to an end--and it must be allowed that he
showed courage; nothing frightened him: he said his say and sometimes
even obtained silence--then Clodius rose. He was met with such an uproar
from our side (for we had determined to give him back as good as he had
given) that he could not collect his thoughts, control his speech, or
command his countenance. This went on from three o'clock, when Pompey
had only just finished his speech, till five. Meanwhile every kind of
abuse, even to ribald verses, were shouted out against Clodius and his
sister. Pale with fury he turned to his followers, and in the midst of
the uproar asked them, 'Who is it that is killing the people with
hunger?' 'Pompey,' they answered. 'Who wants to go to Alexandria?'
'Pompey,' they answered again. 'And whom do _you_ want to go?'
'Crassus,' they said. About six o'clock the party of Clodius began, at
some given signal, it seemed, to spit at our side. Our rage now burst
out. They tried to drive us from our place, and we made a charge. The
partisans of Clodius fled. He was thrust down from the hustings. I then
made my escape, lest any thing worse should happen."

A third enemy, and one whom Clodius was destined to find more dangerous
than either Cicero or Pompey, was Annius Milo. Milo was on the mother's
side of an old Latin family. The name by which he was commonly known was
probably a nickname given him, it may be, in joking allusion to the Milo
of Crotona, the famous wrestler, who carried an ox on his shoulders and
ate it in a single day. For Milo was a great fighting man, a well-born
gladiator, one who was for cutting all political knots with the sword.
He was ambitious, and aspired to the consulship; but the dignity was
scarcely within his reach. His family was not of the highest; he was
deeply in debt; he had neither eloquence nor ability. His best chance,
therefore, was to attach himself to some powerful friend whose gratitude
he might earn. Just such a friend he seemed to find in Cicero. He saw
the great orator's fortunes were very low, but they would probably rise
again, and he would be grateful to those who helped him in his
adversity. Hence Milo's exertions to bring him back from banishment and
hence the quarrel with Clodius. The two men had their bands of hired, or
rather purchased, ruffians about the city, and came into frequent
collisions. Each indicted the other for murderous assault. Each publicly
declared that he should take the earliest chance of putting his I enemy
to death. What was probably a chance collision brought matters to a

On the twentieth of January Milo left Rome to pay a visit to Lanuvium, a
Latin town on the Appian road, and about fifteen miles south of Rome. It
was a small town, much decayed from the old days when its revolt
against Rome was thought to be a thing worth recording; but it
contained one of the most famous temples of Italy, the dwelling of Juno
the Preserver, whose image, in its goat-skin robe, its quaint, turned-up
shoes, with spear in one hand and small shield in the other, had a
peculiar sacredness. Milo was a native of the place, and its dictator;
and it was his duty on this occasion to nominate the chief priest of the
temple. He had been at a meeting of the Senate in the morning, and had
remained till the close of the sitting. Returning home he had changed
his dress and shoes, waited a while, as men have to wait, says Cicero,
while his wife was getting ready, and then started. He traveled in a
carriage his wife and a friend. Several maid-servants and a troop of
singing boys belonging to his wife followed. Much was made of this great
retinue of women and boys, as proving that Milo had no intention when he
started of coming to blows with his great enemy. But he had also with
him a number of armed slaves and several gladiators, among whom were two
famous masters of their art. He had traveled about ten miles when he met
Clodius, who had been delivering an address to the town council of
Aricia, another Latin town, nearer to the capital than Lanuvium, and was
now returning to Rome. He was on horseback, contrary to his usual
custom, which was to use a carriage, and he had with him thirty slaves
armed with swords. No person of distinction thought of traveling without
such attendants.

The two men passed each other, but Milo's gladiators fell out with the
slaves of Clodius. Clodius rode back and accosted the aggressors in a
threatening manner. One of the gladiators replied by wounding him in the
shoulder with his sword. A number of Milo's slaves hastened back to
assist their comrades. The party of Clodius was overpowered, and Clodius
himself, exhausted by his wound, took refuge in a roadside tavern, which
probably marked the first stage out of Rome. Milo, thinking that now he
had gone so far he might go a little further and rid himself of his
enemy forever, ordered his slaves to drag Clodius from his refuge and
finish him. This was promptly done. Cicero indeed declared that the
slaves did it without orders, and in the belief that their master had
been killed. But Rome believed the other story. The corpse of the dead
man lay for some time upon the road uncared for, for all his attendants
had either fallen in the struggle or had crept into hiding-places. Then
a Roman gentleman on his way to the city ordered it to be put into his
litter and taken to Rome, where it arrived just before nightfall. It was
laid out in state in the hall of his mansion, and his widow stood by
showing the wounds to the sympathizing crowd which thronged to see his
remains. Next day the excitement increased. Two of the tribunes
suggested that the body should be carried into the market-place, and
placed on the hustings from which the speaker commonly addressed the
people. Then it was resolved, at the suggestion of another Clodius, a
notary, and a client of the family, to do it a signal honor. "Thou shalt
not bury or burn a man within the city" was one of the oldest of Roman
laws. Clodius, the favorite of the people, should be an exception. His
body was carried into the Hall of Hostilius, the usual meeting-place of
the Senate. The benches, the tables, the platform from which the orators
spoke, the wooden tablets on which the clerks wrote their notes, were
collected to make a funeral pile on which the corpse was to be consumed.
The hall caught fire, and was burned to the ground; another large
building adjoining it, the Hall of Porcius, narrowly escaped the same
fate. The mob attacked several houses, that of Milo among them, and was
with difficulty repulsed.

It had been expected that Milo would voluntarily go into exile; but the
burning of the senate-house caused a strong reaction of feeling of which
he took advantage. He returned to Rome, and provided to canvass for the
consulship, making a present in money (which may be reckoned at
five-and-twenty shillings) to every voter. The city was in a continual
uproar; though the time for the new consuls to enter on their office was
long past, they had not even been elected, nor was there any prospect,
such was the violence of the rival candidates, of their being so. At
last the Senate had recourse to the only man who seemed able to deal
with the situation, and appointed Pompey sole consul. Pompey proposed
to institute for the trial of Milo's case a special court with a
special form of procedure. The limits of the time which it was to occupy
were strictly laid down. Three days were to be given to the examination
of witnesses, one to the speeches of counsel, the prosecution being
allowed two hours only, the defense three. After a vain resistance on
the part of Milo's friends, the proposal was carried, Pompey threatening
to use force if necessary. Popular feeling now set very strongly against
the accused. Pompey proclaimed that he went in fear of his life from his
violence; refused to appear in the Senate lest he should be
assassinated, and even left his house to live in his gardens, which
could be more effectually guarded by soldiers. In the Senate Milo was
accused of having arms under his clothing, a charge which he had to
disprove by lifting up his under garment. Next a freedman came forward,
and declared that he and four others had actually seen the murder of
Clodius, and that having mentioned the fact, they had been seized and
shut up for two months in Milo's counting-house. Finally a sheriff's
officer, if we may so call him, deposed that another important witness,
one of Milo's slaves, had been forcibly taken out of his hands by the
partisans of the accused.

On the eighth of April the trial was begun. The first witness called was
a friend who had been with Clodius on the day of his death. His evidence
made the case look very dark against Milo, and the counsel who was to
cross-examine him on behalf of the accused was received with such angry
cries that he had to take refuge on the bench with the presiding judge.
Milo was obliged to ask for the same protection.

Pompey resolved that better order should be kept for the future, and
occupied all the approaches to the court with troops. The rest of the
witnesses were heard and cross-examined without interruption. April 11th
was the last day of the trial. Three speeches were delivered for the
prosecution; for the defense one only, and that by Cicero. It had been
suggested that he should take the bold line of arguing that Clodius was
a traitor, and that the citizen who slew him had deserved well of his
country. But he judged it better to follow another course, and to show
that Clodius had been the aggressor, having deliberately laid an ambush
for Milo, of whose meditated journey to Lanuvium he was of course aware.
Unfortunately for his client the case broke down. Milo had evidently
left Rome and the conflict had happened much earlier than was said,
because the body of the murdered man had reached the capital not later
than five o'clock in the afternoon. This disproved the assertion that
Clodius had loitered on his way back to Rome till the growing darkness
gave him an opportunity of attacking his adversaries. Then it came out
that Milo had had in his retinue, besides the women and boys, a number
of fighting men. Finally there was the damning fact, established, it
would seem, by competent witnesses, that Clodius had been dragged from
his hiding-place and put to death. Cicero too lost his presence of mind.
The sight of the city, in which all the shops were shut in expectation
of a riot, the presence of the soldiers in court, and the clamor of a
mob furiously hostile to the accused and his advocate, confounded him,
and he spoke feebly and hesitatingly. The admirable oration which has
come down to us, and professes to have been delivered on this occasion,
was really written afterwards. The jury, which was allowed by common
consent to have been one of the best ever assembled, gave a verdict of
guilty. Milo went into banishment at Marseilles--a punishment which he
seems to have borne very easily, if it is true that when Cicero excused
himself for the want of courage which had marred the effect of his
defense, he answered, "It was all for the best; if you had spoken
better I should never have tasted these admirable Marseilles mullets."

Naturally he tired of the mullets before long. When Caesar had made
himself master of Rome, he hoped to be recalled from banishment. But
Caesar did not want him, and preferred to have him where he was. Enraged
at this treatment, he came over to Italy and attempted to raise an
insurrection in favor of Pompey. The troops whom he endeavored to
corrupt refused to follow him. He retreated with his few followers into
the extreme south of the peninsula, and was there killed.



"From his earliest years," so runs the character that has come down to
us of Cato, "he was resolute to obstinacy. Flattery met with a rough
repulse, and threats with resistance. He never laughed, and his smile
was of the slightest. Not easily provoked, his anger, once roused, was
implacable. He learned but slowly, but never forgot a thing once
acquired; he was obedient to his teachers, but wanted to know the reason
of every thing." The stories told of his boyhood bear out this
character. Here is one of them. His tutor took him to Sulla's house. It
was in the evil days of the Proscription, and there were signs of the
bloody work that was going on. "Why does no one kill this man?" he asked
his teacher. "Because, my son, they fear him more than they hate him,"
was the answer. "Why then," was the rejoinder, "have you not given me a
sword that I may set my country free?" The tutor, as it may be supposed,
carried him off in haste.

Like most young Romans he began life as a soldier, and won golden
opinions not only by his courage, which indeed was common enough in a
nation that conquered the world, but by his temperance and diligent
performance of duty. His time of service ended, he set out on his
travels, accepting an invitation from the tributary king of Galatia,
who happened to be an old friend of the family, to visit him. We get an
interesting little picture of a Roman of the upper class on a tour. "At
dawn he would send on a baker and a cook to the place which he intended
to visit. These would enter the town in a most unpretending fashion, and
if their master did not happen to have a friend or acquaintance in the
place, would betake themselves to an inn, and there prepare for their
master's accommodation without troubling any one. It was only when there
was no inn that they went to the magistrates and asked for
entertainment; and they were always content with what was assigned.
Often they met with but scanty welcome and attention, not enforcing
their demands with the customary threats, so that Cato on his arrival
found nothing prepared. Nor did their master create a more favorable
impression, sitting as he did quietly on his luggage, and seeming to
accept the situation. Sometimes, however, he would send for the town
authorities and say, "You had best give up these mean ways, my
inhospitable friends; you won't find that all your visitors are Catos."
Once at least he found himself, as he thought, magnificently received.
Approaching Antioch, he found the road lined on either side with troops
of spectators. The men stood in one company, the boys in another. Every
body was in holiday dress. Some--these were the magistrates and
priests--wore white robes and garlands of flowers. Cato, supposing that
all these preparations were intended for himself, was annoyed that his
servants had not prevented them. But he was soon undeceived. An old man
ran out from the crowd, and without so much as greeting the new comer,
cried, "Where did you leave Demetrius? When will he come?" Demetrius was
Pompey's freedman, and had some of his master's greatness reflected on
him. Cato could only turn away muttering, "Wretched place!"

Returning to Rome he went through the usual course of honors, always
discharging his duties with the utmost zeal and integrity, and probably,
as long as he filled a subordinate place, with great success. It was
when statesmanship was wanted that he began to fail.

In the affair of the conspiracy of Catiline Cato stood firmly by
Cicero, supporting the proposition to put the conspirators to death in a
powerful speech, the only speech of all that he made that was preserved.
This preservation was due to the forethought of Cicero, who put the
fastest writers whom he could find to relieve each other in taking down
the oration. This, it is interesting to be told, was the beginning of

Cato, like Cicero, loved and believed in the republic; but he was much
more uncompromising, more honest perhaps we may say, but certainly less
discreet in putting his principles into action. He set himself to oppose
the accumulation of power in the hands of Pompey and Caesar; but he
lacked both dignity and prudence, and he accomplished nothing. When, for
instance, Caesar, returning from Spain, petitioned the Senate for
permission to become a candidate for the consulship without entering the
city--to enter the city would have been to abandon his hopes of a
triumph--Cato condescended to use the arts of obstruction in opposing
him. He spoke till sunset against the proposition, and it failed by
sheer lapse of time. Yet the opposition was fruitless. Caesar of course
abandoned the empty honor, and secured the reality, all the more
certainly because people felt that he had been hardly used. And so he
continued to act, always seeking to do right, but always choosing the
very worst way of doing it; anxious to serve his country, but always
contriving to injure it. Even in that which, we may say, best became him
in his life, in the leaving of it (if we accept for the moment the Roman
view of the morality of suicide), he was not doing his best for Rome.
Had he been willing to live (for Caesar was ready to spare him, as he
was always ready to spare enemies who could not harm him), there was yet
good for him to do; in his hasty impatience of what he disapproved, he
preferred to deprive his country of its most honest citizen.

We must not omit a picture so characteristic of Roman life as the story
of his last hours. The last army of the republic had been destroyed at
Thapsus, and Caesar was undisputed master of the world. Cato vainly
endeavored to stir up the people of Utica, a town near Carthage, in
which he had taken up his quarters; when they refused, he resolved to
put an end to his life. A kinsman of Caesar, who was preparing to
intercede with the conqueror for the lives of the vanquished leaders,
begged Cato's help in revising his speech. "For you," he said, "I should
think it no shame to clasp his hands and fall at his knees." "Were I
willing to take my life at his hands," replied Cato, "I should go alone
to ask it. But I refuse to live by the favor of a tyrant. Still, as
there are three hundred others for whom you are to intercede, let us see
what can be done with the speech." This business finished, he took an
affectionate leave of his friend, commending to his good offices his son
and his friends. On his son he laid a strict injunction not to meddle
with public life. Such a part as was worthy of the name of Cato no man
could take again; to take any other would be shameful. Then followed the
bath, and after the bath, dinner, to which he had invited a number of
friends, magistrates of the town. He sat at the meal, instead of
reclining. This had been his custom ever since the fated day of
Pharsalia. After dinner, over the wine, there was much learned talk,
and this not other than cheerful in tone. But when the conversation
happened to turn on one of the favorite maxims of the Stoics, "Only the
good man is free; the bad are slaves," Cato expressed himself with an
energy and even a fierceness that made the company suspect some terrible
resolve. The melancholy silence that ensued warned the speaker that he
had betrayed himself, and he hastened to remove the suspicion by talking
on other topics. After dinner he took his customary walk, gave the
necessary orders to the officers on guard, and then sought his chamber.
Here he took up the Phaedo, the famous dialogue in which Socrates, on
the day when he is to drink the poison, discusses the immortality of the
soul. He had almost finished the book, when, chancing to turn his eyes
upwards, he perceived that his sword had been removed. His son had
removed it while he sat at dinner. He called a slave and asked, "Who has
taken my sword?" As the man said nothing, he resumed his book; but in
the course of a few minutes, finding that search was not being made, he
asked for the sword again. Another interval followed; and still it was
not forthcoming. His anger was now roused. He vehemently reproached the
slaves, and even struck one of them with his fist, which he injured by
the blow. "My son and my slaves," he said, "are betraying me to the
enemy." He would listen to no entreaties, "Am I a madman," he said,
"that I am stripped of my arms? Are you going to bind my hands and give
me up to Caesar? As for the sword I can do without it; I need but hold
my breath or dash my head against the wall. It is idle to think that you
can keep a man of my years alive against his will." It was felt to be
impossible to persist in the face of this determination, and a young
slave-boy brought back the sword. Cato felt the weapon, and finding that
the blade was straight and the edge perfect, said, "Now I am my own
master." He then read the Phaedo again from beginning to end, and
afterwards fell into so profound a sleep that persons standing outside
the chamber heard his breathing. About midnight he sent for his
physician and one of his freedmen. The freedman was commissioned to
inquire whether his friends had set sail. The physician he asked to bind
up his wounded hand, a request which his attendants heard with delight,
as it seemed to indicate a resolve to live. He again sent to inquire
about his friends and expressed his regret at the rough weather which
they seemed likely to have. The birds were now beginning to twitter at
the approach of dawn, and he fell into a short sleep. The freedman now
returned with news that the harbor was quiet. When he found himself
again alone, he stabbed himself with the sword, but the blow, dealt as
it was by the wounded hand, was not fatal. He fell fainting on the
couch, knocking down a counting board which stood near, and groaning.
His son with others rushed into the chamber, and the physician, finding
that the wound was not mortal, proceeded to bind it up. Cato, recovering
his consciousness, thrust the attendants aside, and tearing open the
wound, expired.

If the end of Cato's life was its noblest part it is still more true
that the fame of Brutus rests on one memorable deed. He was known,
indeed, as a young man of promise, with whose education special pains
had been taken, and who had a genuine love for letters and learning. He
was free, it would seem, from some of the vices of his age, but he had
serious faults. Indeed the one transaction of his earlier life with
which we happen to be well acquainted is very little to his credit. And
this, again, is so characteristic of one side of Roman life that it
should be told in some detail.

Brutus had married the daughter of a certain Appius Claudius, a kinsman
of the notorious Clodius, and had accompanied his father-in-law to his
province, Cilicia. He took the opportunity of increasing his means by
lending money to the provincials. Lending money, it must be remembered,
was not thought a discreditable occupation even for the very noblest. To
lend money upon interest was, indeed, the only way of making an
investment, besides the buying of land, that was available to the Roman
capitalist. But Brutus was more than a money-lender, he was an usurer;
that is, he sought to extract an extravagantly high rate of interest
from his debtors. And this greed brought him into collision with Cicero.

A certain Scaptius had been agent for Brutus in lending money to the
town of Salamis in Cyprus. Under the government of Claudius, Scaptius
had had every thing his own way. He had been appointed to a command in
the town, had some cavalry at his disposal, and extorted from the
inhabitants what terms he pleased, shutting up, it is told us, the
Senate in their council-room till five of them perished of hunger.
Cicero heard of this monstrous deed as he was on his way to his
province; he peremptorily refused the request of Scaptius for a renewal
of his command, saying that he had resolved not to grant such posts to
any person engaged in trading or money-lending. Still, for Brutus'
sake--and it was not for some time that it came out that Brutus was the
principal--he would take care that the money should be paid. This the
town was ready to do; but then came in the question of interest. An
edict had been published that this should never exceed twelve per cent.,
or one per cent, monthly, that being the customary way of payment. But
Scaptius pleaded his bond, which provided for four per cent, monthly,
and pleaded also a special edict that regulations restraining interest
were not to apply to Salamis. The town protested that they could not
pay if such terms were exacted--terms which would double the principal.
They could not, they said, have met even the smaller claim, if it had
not been for the liberality of the governor, who had declined the
customary presents. Brutus was much vexed.

"Even when he asks me a favor," writes Cicero to Atticus, "there is
always something arrogant and churlish: still he moves laughter more
than anger."

When the civil war broke out between Caesar and Pompey, it was expected
that Brutus would attach himself to the former. Pompey, who had put his
father to death, he had no reason to love. But if he was unscrupulous in
some things, in politics he had principles which he would not abandon,
the strongest of these, perhaps, being that the side of which Cato
approved was the side of the right. Pompey received his new adherent
with astonishment and delight, rising from his chair to greet him. He
spent most of his time in camp in study, being ingrossed on the very eve
of the battle in making an epitome of Polybius, the Greek historian of
the Second Punic War. He passed through the disastrous day of Pharsalia
unhurt, Caesar having given special orders that his life was to be
spared. After the battle, the conqueror not only pardoned him but
treated him with the greatest kindness, a kindness for which, for a time
at least, he seems not to have been ungrateful. But there were
influences at work which he could not resist. There was his friendship
with Cassius, who had a passionate hatred against usurpers, the
remembrance of how Cato had died sooner than submit himself to Caesar,
and, not least, the association of his name, which he was not permitted
to forget. The statue of the old patriot who had driven out the Tarquins
was covered with such inscriptions as, "Brutus, would thou wert alive!"
and Brutus' own chair of office--he was praetor at the time--was found
covered with papers on which were scribbled, "Brutus, thou sleepest,"
or, "A true Brutus art thou," and the like. How he slew Caesar I have
told already; how he killed himself in despair after the second battle
of Philippi may be read elsewhere.

Porcia, the daughter of Cato, was left a widow in 48 B.C., and married
three years afterwards her cousin Brutus, who divorced his first wife
Claudia in order to marry her. She inherited both the literary tastes
and the opinions of her father, and she thought herself aggrieved when
her husband seemed unwilling to confide his plans to her. Plutarch thus
tells her story, his authority seeming to be a little biography which
one of her sons by her first husband afterwards wrote of his
step-father. "She wounded herself in the thigh with a knife such as
barbers use for cutting the nails. The wound was deep, the loss of blood
great, and the pain and fever that followed acute. Her husband was in
the greatest distress, when his wife thus addressed him: 'Brutus, it was
a daughter of Cato who became your wife, not merely to share your bed
and board, but to be the partner of your adversity and your prosperity.
_You_ give me no cause to complain, but what proof can I give you of my
affection if I may not bear with you your secret troubles. Women, I
know, are weak creatures, ill fitted to keep secrets. Yet a good
training and honest company may do much, and this, as Cato's daughter
and wife to Brutus, I have had.' She then showed him the wound, and told
him that she had inflicted it upon herself to prove her courage and
constancy." For all this resolution she had something of a woman's
weakness. When her husband had left the house on the day fixed for the
assassination, she could not conceal her agitation. She eagerly inquired
of all who entered how Brutus fared, and at last fainted in the hall of
her house. In the midst of the business of the senate-house Brutus heard
that his wife was dying.

Porcia was not with her husband during the campaigns that ended at
Philippi, but remained in Rome. She is said to have killed herself by
swallowing the live coals from a brazier, when her friends kept from her
all the means of self-destruction. This story is scarcely credible;
possibly it means that she suffocated herself with the fumes of
charcoal. That she should commit suicide suited all the traditions of
her life.



It was usual for a Roman statesman, after filling the office of praetor
or consul, to undertake for a year or more the government of one of the
provinces. These appointments were indeed the prizes of the profession
of politics. The new governor had a magnificent outfit from the
treasury. We hear of as much as one hundred and fifty thousand pounds
having been allowed for this purpose. Out of this something might easily
be economized. Indeed we hear of one governor who left the whole of his
allowance put out at interest in Rome. And in the province itself
splendid gains might be, and indeed commonly were, got. Even Cicero,
who, if we may trust his own account of his proceedings, was
exceptionally just, and not only just, but even generous in his dealings
with the provincials, made, as we have seen, the very handsome profit of
twenty thousand pounds out of a year of office. Verres, who, on the
other hand, was exceptionally rapacious, made three hundred and fifty
thousand pounds in three years, besides collecting works of art of
incalculable value. But the honors and profits to which most of his
contemporaries looked forward with eagerness did not attract Cicero. He
did not care to be absent from the center of political life, and felt
himself to be at once superior to and unfitted for the pettier affairs
of a provincial government.

He had successfully avoided the appointment after his praetorship and
again after his consulship. But the time came when it was forced upon
him. Pompey in his third consulship had procured the passing of a law by
which it was provided that all senators who had filled the office of
praetor or consul should cast lots for the vacant provinces. Cicero had
to take his chance with the rest, and the ballot gave him Cilicia. This
was in B.C. 51, and Cicero was in his fifty-sixth year.

Cilicia was a province of considerable extent, including, as it did, the
south-eastern portion of Asia Minor, together with the island of Cyprus.
The position of its governor was made more anxious by the neighborhood
of Rome's most formidable neighbors, the Parthians, who but two years
before had cut to pieces the army of Crassus. Two legions, numbering
twelve thousand troops besides auxiliaries, were stationed in the
province, having attached to them between two and three thousand

Cicero started to take up his appointment on May 1st, accompanied by his
brother, who, having served with distinction under Caesar in Gaul, had
resigned his command to act as lieutenant in Cilicia. At Cumae he
received a levee of visitors--a "little Rome," he says. Hortensius was
among them, and this though in very feeble health (he died before
Cicero's return). "He asked me for my instructions. Every thing else I
left with him in general terms, but I begged him especially not to allow
as far as in him lay, the government of my province to be continued to
me into another year." On the 17th of the month he reached Tarentum,
where he spent three days with Pompey. He found him "ready to defend the
State from the dangers that we dread." The shadows of the civil war,
which was to break out in the year after Cicero's return, were already
gathering. At Brundisium, the port of embarkation for the East, he was
detained partly by indisposition, partly by having to wait for one of
his officials for nearly a fortnight. He reached Actium, in
north-western Greece, on the 15th of June. He would have liked to
proceed thence by land, being, as he tells us, a bad sailor, and having
in view the rounding of the formidable promontory Leucate; but there was
a difficulty about his retinue, without which he could not maintain the
state which became a governor _en route_ for his province. Eleven more
days brought him to Athens. "So far," he writes from this place, "no
expenditure of public or private money has been made on me or any of my
retinue. I have convinced all my people that they must do their best for
my character. So far all has gone admirably. The thing has been noticed,
and is greatly praised by the Greeks." "Athens," he writes again,
"delighted me much; the city with all its beauty, the great affection
felt for you" (he is writing, it will be remembered, to Atticus, an old
resident), "and the good feeling towards myself, much more, too, its
philosophical studies." He was able before he left to do the people a
service, rescuing from the hands of the builder the house of Epicurus,
which the council of Areopagus, with as little feeling for antiquity as
a modern town council, had doomed. Then he went on his way, grumbling at
the hardships of a sea voyage in July, at the violence of the winds, at
the smallness of the local vessels. He reached Ephesus on July 22nd,
without being sea-sick, as he is careful to tell us, and found a vast
number of persons who had come to pay their respects to him. All this
was pleasant enough, but he was peculiarly anxious to get back to Rome.
Rome indeed to the ordinary Roman was--a few singular lovers of the
country, as Virgil and Horace, excepted--as Paris is to the Parisian.
"Make it absolutely certain," he writes to Atticus, "that I am to be in
office for a year only; that there is not to be even an intercalated
month." From Ephesus he journeys, complaining of the hot and dusty
roads, to Tralles, and from Tralles, one of the cities of his province,
to Laodicea, which he reached July 31st, exactly three months after
starting[8]. The distance, directly measured, may be reckoned at
something less than a thousand miles.

[Footnote 8: Forty-seven days was reckoned a very short time for
accomplishing the journey.]

He seems to have found the province in a deplorable condition. "I
staid," he writes, "three days at Laodicea, three again at Apamca, and
as many at Synnas, and heard nothing except complaints that they could
not pay the poll-tax imposed upon them, that every one's property was
sold; heard, I say, nothing but complaints and groans, and monstrous
deeds which seemed to suit not a man but some horrid wild beast. Still
it is some alleviation to these unhappy towns that they are put to no
expense for me or for any of my followers. I will not receive the fodder
which is my legal due, nor even the wood. Sometimes I have accepted four
beds and a roof over my head; often not even this, preferring to lodge
in a tent. The consequence of all this is an incredible concourse of
people from town and country anxious to see me. Good heavens! my very
approach seems to make them revive, so completely do the justice,
moderation, and clemency of your friend surpass all expectation." It
must be allowed that Cicero was not unaccustomed to sound his own

Usury was one of the chief causes of this widespread distress; and
usury, as we have seen, was practiced even by Romans of good repute. We
have seen an "honorable man," such as Brutus, exacting an interest of
nearly fifty per cent. Pompey was receiving, at what rate of interest we
do not know, the enormous sum of nearly one hundred thousand pounds per
annum from the tributary king of Cappadocia, and this was less than he
was entitled to. Other debtors of this impecunious king could get
nothing; every thing went into Pompey's purse, and the whole country was
drained of coin to the very uttermost. In the end, however, Cicero did
manage to get twenty thousand pounds for Brutus, who was also one of the
king's creditors. We cannot but wonder, if such things went on under a
governor who was really doing his best to be moderate and just, what was
the condition of the provincials under ordinary rulers.

While Cicero was busy with the condition of his province; his attention
was distracted by what we may call a Parthian "scare." The whole army of
this people was said to have crossed the Euphrates under the command of
Pacorus, the king's son. The governor of Syria had not yet arrived. The
second in command had shut himself up with all his troops in Antioch.
Cicero marched into Cappadocia, which bordered the least defensible side
of Cilicia, and took up a position at the foot of Mount Taurus. Next
came news that Antioch was besieged. On hearing this he broke up his
camp, crossed the Taurus range by forced marches, and occupied the
passes into Syria. The Parthians raised the siege of Antioch, and
suffered considerably at the hands of Cassius during their retreat.

Though Cicero never crossed swords with the Parthians, he found or
contrived an opportunity of distinguishing himself as a soldier. The
independent mountaineers of the border were attacked and defeated;
Cicero was saluted as "Imperator" on the field of battle by his
soldiers, and had the satisfaction of occupying for some days the
position which Alexander the Great had taken up before the battle of
Issus. "And he," says Cicero, who always relates his military
achievements with something like a smile on his face, "was a somewhat
better general than either you or I." He next turned his arms against
the Free Cilicians, investing in regular form with trenches, earthworks,
catapults, and all the regular machinery of a siege, their stronghold
Pindenissum. At the end of forty-seven days the place surrendered.
Cicero gave the plunder of the place to his host, reserving the horses
only for public purposes. A considerable sum was realized by the sale of
slaves. "Who in the world are these Pindenissi? who are they?" you will
say. "I never heard the name." "Well, what can I do? I can't make
Cilicia another Aetolia, or another Macedonia." The campaign was
concluded about the middle of December, and the governor, handing over
the army to his brother, made his way to Laodicea. From this place he
writes to Atticus in language that seems to us self-glorious and
boastful, but still has a ring of honesty about it. "I left Tarsus for
Asia (the Roman province so called) on June 5th, followed by such
admiration as I cannot express from the cities of Cilicia, and
especially from the people of Tarsus. When I had crossed the Taurus
there was a marvelous eagerness to see me in Asia as far as my
districts extended. During six months of my government they had not
received a single requisition from me, had not had a single person
quartered upon them. Year after year before my time this part of the
year had been turned to profit in this way. The wealthy cities used to
pay large sums of money not to have to find winter quarters for the
soldiers. Cyprus paid more than L48,000 on this account; and from this
island--I say it without exaggeration and in sober truth--not a single
coin was levied while I was in power. In return for these benefits,
benefits at which they are simply astonished. I will not allow any but
verbal honors to be voted to me. Statues, temples, chariots of bronze, I
forbid. In nothing do I make myself a trouble to the cities, though it
is possible I do so to you, while I thus proclaim my own praises. Bear
with me, if you love me. This is the rule which you would have had me
follow. My journey through Asia had such results that even the
famine--and than famine there is no more deplorable calamity--which then
prevailed in the country (there had been no harvest) was an event for me
to desire; for wherever I journeyed, without force, without the help of
law, without reproaches, but my simple influence and expostulations, I
prevailed upon the Greeks and Roman citizens, who had secreted the corn,
to engage to convey a large quantity to the various tribes." He writes
again: "I see that you are pleased with my moderation and
self-restraint. You would be much more pleased if you were here. At the
sessions which I held at Laodicea for all my districts, excepting
Cilicia, from February 15th to May 1st, I effected a really marvelous
work. Many cities were entirely freed from their debts, many greatly
relieved, and all of them enjoying their own laws and courts, and so
obtaining self-government received new life. There were two ways in
which I gave them the opportunity of either throwing off or greatly
lightening the burden of debt. First: they have been put to no expense
under my rule--I do not exaggerate; I positively say that they have not
to spend a farthing. Then again: the cities had been atrociously robbed
by their own Greek magistrates. I myself questioned the men who had
borne office during the last ten years. They confessed and, without
being publicly disgraced, made restitution. In other respects my
government, without being wanting in address, is marked by clemency and
courtesy. There is none of the difficulty, so usual in the provinces, of
approaching me; no introduction by a chamberlain. Before dawn I am on
foot in my house, as I used to be in old days when I was a candidate for
office. This is a great matter here and a popular, and to myself, from
my old practice in it, has not yet been troublesome."

He had other less serious cares. One Caelius, who was good enough to
keep him informed of what was happening at Rome, and whom we find
filling his letters with an amusing mixture of politics, scandal, and
gossip, makes a modest request for some panthers, which the governor of
so wild a country would doubtless have no difficulty in procuring for
him. He was a candidate for the office of aedile, and wanted the beasts
for the show which he would have to exhibit. Cicero must not forget to
look after them as soon as he hears of the election. "In nearly all my
letters I have written to you about the panthers. It will be
discreditable to you, that Patiscus should have sent to Curio ten
panthers, and you not many times more. These ten Curio gave me, and ten
others from Africa. If you will only remember to send for hunters from
Cibyra, and also send letters to Pamphylia (for there, I understand,
more are taken than elsewhere), you will succeed. I do beseech you look
after this matter. You have only to give the orders. I have provided
people to keep and transport the animals when once taken." The governor
would not hear of imposing the charge of capturing the panthers on the
hunters of the province. Still he would do his best to oblige his
friend. "The matter of the panthers is being diligently attended to by
the persons who are accustomed to hunt them; but there is a strange
scarcity of them, and the few that there are complain grievously, saying
that they are the only creatures in my province that are persecuted."

From Laodicea Cicero returned to Tarsus, the capital of his province,
wound up the affairs of his government, appointed an acting governor,
and started homewards early in August. On his way he paid a visit to
Rhodes, wishing to show to his son and nephew (they had accompanied him
to his government) the famous school of eloquence in which he had
himself studied. Here he heard with much regret of the death of
Hortensius. He had seen the great orator's son at Laodicea, where he was
amusing himself in the disreputable company of some gladiators, and had
asked him to dinner for his father's sake, he says. His stay at Rhodes
was probably of some duration, for he did not reach Ephesus till the
first of October. A tedious passage of fourteen days brought him to
Athens. On his journey westwards Tiro, his confidential servant, was
seized with illness, and had to be left behind at Patrae. Tiro was a
slave, though afterwards set free by his master; but he was a man of
great and varied accomplishments, and Cicero writes to him as he might
to the very dearest of his friends. There is nothing stranger in all
that we know of "Roman Life" than the presence in it of such men as
Tiro. Nor is there any thing, we might even venture to say, quite like
it elsewhere in the whole history of the world. Now and then, in the
days when slavery still existed in the Southern States of America,
mulatto and quadroon slaves might have been found who in point of
appearance and accomplishments were scarcely different from their
owners. But there was always a taint, or what was reckoned as a taint,
of negro blood in the men and women so situated. In Rome it must have
been common to see men, possibly better born (for Greek might even be
counted better than Roman descent), and probably better educated than
their masters, who had absolutely no rights as human beings, and could
be tortured or killed just as cruelty or caprice might suggest. To Tiro,
man of culture and acute intellect as he was, there must have been an
unspeakable bitterness in the thought of servitude, even under a master
so kindly and affectionate as Cicero. One shudders to think what the
feelings of such a man must have been when he was the chattel of a
Verres, a Clodius, or a Catiline. It is pleasant to turn away from the
thought, which is the very darkest perhaps in the repulsive subject of
Roman slavery, to observe the sympathy and tenderness which Cicero shows
to the sick man from whom he has been reluctantly compelled to part. The
letters to Tiro fill one of the sixteen books of "Letters to Friends."
They are twenty-seven in number, or rather twenty-six, as the sixteenth
of the series contains the congratulations and thanks which Quintus
Cicero addresses to his brother on receiving the news that Tiro has
received his freedom. "As to Tiro," he writes, "I protest, as I wish to
see you, my dear Marcus, and my own son, and yours, and my dear Tullia,
that you have done a thing that pleased me exceedingly in making a man
who certainly was far above his mean condition a friend rather than a
servant. Believe me, when I read your letters and his, I fairly leaped
for joy; I both thank and congratulate you. If the fidelity of my
Statius gives me so much pleasure[9], how valuable in Tiro must be this
same good quality with the additional and even superior advantages of
culture, wit, and politeness? I have many very good reasons for loving
you; and now there is this that you have told me, as indeed you were
bound to tell me, this excellent piece of news. I saw all your heart in
your letter."

[Footnote 9: See page 277.]

Cicero's letters to the invalid are at first very frequent. One is dated
on the third, another on the fifth, and a third on the seventh of
November; and on the eighth of the month there are no fewer than three,
the first of them apparently in answer to a letter from Tiro. "I am
variously affected by your letter--much troubled by the first page, a
little comforted by the second. The result is that I now say, without
hesitation, till you are quite strong, do not trust yourself to travel
either by land of sea. I shall see you as soon as I wish if I see you
quite restored." He goes on to criticise the doctor's prescriptions.
Soup was not the right thing to give to a dyspeptic patient. Tiro is not
to spare any expense. Another fee to the doctor might make him more
attentive. In another letter he regrets that the invalid had felt
himself compelled to accept an invitation to a concert, and tells him
that he had left a horse and mule for him at Brundisium. Then, after a
brief notice of public affairs, he returns to the question of the
voyage. "I must again ask you not to be rash in your traveling. Sailors,
I observe, make too much haste to increase their profits. Be cautious,
my dear Tiro. You have a wide and dangerous sea to traverse. If you can,
come with Mescinius. He is wont to be careful in his voyages. If not
with him, come with a person of distinction, who will have influence
with the captain." In another letter he tells Tiro that he must revive
his love of letters and learning. The physician thought that his mind
was ill at ease; for this the best remedy was occupation. In another he
writes: "I have received your letter with its shaky handwriting; no
wonder, indeed, seeing how serious has been your illness. I send you
Aegypta (probably a superior slave) to wait upon you, and a cook with
him." Cicero could not have shown more affectionate care of a sick son.

Tiro is said to have written a life of his master. And we certainly owe
to his care the preservation of his correspondence. His weak health did
not prevent him from living to the age of a hundred and three.

Cicero pursued his homeward journey by slow stages, and it was not till
November 25th that he reached Italy. His mind was distracted between
two anxieties--the danger of civil war, which he perceived to be daily
growing more imminent, and an anxious desire to have his military
successes over the Cilician mountaineers rewarded by the distinction of
a triumph. The honor of a public thanksgiving had already been voted to
him; Cato, who opposed it on principle, having given him offense by so
doing. A triumph was less easy to obtain, and indeed it seems to show a
certain weakness in Cicero that he should have sought to obtain it for
exploits of so very moderate a kind. However, he landed at Brundisium as
a formal claimant for the honor. His lictors had their fasces (bundles
of rods inclosing an ax) wreathed with bay leaves, as was the custom
with the victorious general who hoped to obtain this distinction.
Pompey, with whom he had a long interview, encouraged him to hope for
it, and promised his support. It was not till January 4th that he
reached the capital. The look of affairs was growing darker and darker,
but he still clung to the hopes of a triumph, and would not dismiss his
lictors with their ornaments, though he was heartily wearied of their
company. Things went so far that a proposition was actually made in the
Senate that the triumph should be granted; but the matter was postponed
at the suggestion of one of the consuls, anxious, Cicero thinks, to make
his own services more appreciated when the time should come. Before the
end of January he seems to have given up his hopes. In a few more days
he was fairly embarked on the tide of civil war.



The name of Atticus has been mentioned more than once in the preceding
chapters as a correspondent of Cicero. We have indeed more than five
hundred letters addressed to him, extending over a period of almost
five-and-twenty years. There are frequent intervals of silence--not a
single letter, for instance, belongs to the year of the consulship, the
reason being that both the correspondents were in Rome. Sometimes,
especially in the later years, they follow each other very closely. The
last was written about a year before Cicero's death.

Atticus was one of those rare characters who contrive to live at peace
with all men. The times were troublous beyond all measure; he had wealth
and position; he kept up close friendship with men who were in the very
thickest of the fight; he was ever ready with his sympathy and help for
those who were vanquished; and yet he contrived to arouse no enmities;
and after a life-long peace, interrupted only by one or two temporary
alarms, died in a good old age.

Atticus was of what we should call a gentleman's family, and belonged by
inheritance to the democratic party. But he early resolved to stand
aloof from politics, and took an effectual means of carrying out his
purpose by taking up his residence at Athens. With characteristic
prudence he transferred the greater part of his property to investments
in Greece. At Athens he became exceedingly popular. He lent money at
easy rates to the municipality, and made liberal distributions of corn,
giving as much as a bushel and a half to every needy citizen. He spoke
Greek and Latin with equal ease and eloquence; and had, we are told, an
unsurpassed gift for reciting poetry. Sulla, who, for all his savagery,
had a cultivated taste, was charmed with the young man, and would have
taken him in his train. "I beseech you," replied Atticus, "don't take me
to fight against those in whose company, but that I left Italy, I might
be fighting against you." After a residence of twenty-three years he
returned to Rome, in the very year of Cicero's consulship. At Rome he
stood as much aloof from the turmoil of civil strife as he had stood at
Athens. Office of every kind he steadily refused; he was under no
obligations to any man, and therefore was not thought ungrateful by any.
The partisans of Caesar and of Pompey were content to receive help from
his purse, and to see him resolutely neutral. He refused to join in a
project of presenting what we should call a testimonial to the murderers
of Caesar on behalf of the order of the knights; but he did not hesitate
to relieve the necessities of the most conspicuous of them with a
present of between three and four thousand pounds. When Antony was
outlawed he protected his family; and Antony in return secured his life
and property amidst the horrors of the second Proscription.

His biographer, Cornelius Nepos, has much to say of his moderation and
temperate habits of life. He had no sumptuous country-house in the
suburbs or at the sea-coast, but two farm-houses. He possessed, however,
what seems to have been a very fine house (perhaps we should call it
"castle," for Cicero speaks of it as a place capable of defense) in
Epirus. It contained among other things a gallery of statues. A love of
letters was one of his chief characteristics. His guests were not
entertained with the performances of hired singers, but with readings
from authors of repute. He had collected, indeed, a very large library.
All his slaves, down to the very meanest, were well educated, and he
employed them to make copies.

Atticus married somewhat late in life. His only daughter was the first
wife of Agrippa, the minister of Augustus, and his grand-daughter was
married to Tiberius. Both of these ladies were divorced to make room for
a consort of higher rank, who, curiously enough, was in both cases
Julia, the infamous daughter of Augustus. Both, we may well believe,
were regretted by their husbands.

Atticus died at the age of seventy-seven. He was afflicted with a
disease which he believed to be incurable, and shortened his days by
voluntary starvation.

It was to this correspondent, then, that Cicero confided for about a
quarter of a century his cares and his wants. The two had been
schoolfellows, and had probably renewed their acquaintance when Cicero
visited Greece in search of health. Afterwards there came to be a family
connection between them, Atticus' sister, Pomponia, marrying Cicero's
younger brother, Quintus, not much, we gather from the letters, to the
happiness of either of them. Cicero could not have had a better
confidant. He was full of sympathy, and ready with his help; and he was
at the same time sagacious and prudent in no common degree, an excellent
man of business, and, thanks to the admirable coolness which enabled him
to stand outside the turmoil of politics, an equally excellent adviser
in politics.

One frequent subject of Cicero's letters to his friend is money. I may
perhaps express the relation between the two by saying that Atticus was
Cicero's banker, though the phrase must not be taken too literally. He
did not habitually receive and pay money on Cicero's account, but he did
so on occasions; and he was constantly in the habit of making advances,
though probably without interest, when temporary embarrassments, not
infrequent, as we may gather from the letters, called for them. Atticus
was himself a wealthy man. Like his contemporaries generally, he made an
income by money-lending, and possibly, for the point is not quite clear,
by letting out gladiators for hire. His biographer happens to give us
the precise figure of his property. His words do not indeed expressly
state whether the sum that he mentions means capital or income. I am
inclined to think that it is the latter. If this be so, he had in early
life an income of something less than eighteen thousand pounds, and
afterwards nearly ninety thousand pounds.

I may take this occasion to say something about Cicero's property, a
matter which is, in its way, a rather perplexing question. In the case
of a famous advocate among ourselves there would be no difficulty in
understanding that he should have acquired a great fortune. But the
Roman law strictly forbade an advocate to receive any payment from his
clients. The practice of old times, when the great noble pleaded for the
life or property of his humbler defendants, and was repaid by their
attachment and support, still existed in theory. It exists indeed to
this day, and accounts for the fact that a barrister among ourselves has
no _legal_ means of recovering his fees. But a practice of paying
counsel had begun to grow up. Some of Cicero's contemporaries certainly
received a large remuneration for their services. Cicero himself always
claims to have kept his hands clean in this respect, and as his enemies
never brought any charge of this kind against him, his statement may
very well be accepted. We have, then, to look for other sources of
income. His patrimony was considerable. It included, as we have seen, an
estate at Arpinum and a house in Rome. And then he had numerous
legacies. This is a source of income which is almost strange to our
modern ways of acting and thinking. It seldom happens among us that a
man of property leaves any thing outside the circle of his family.
Sometimes an intimate friend will receive a legacy. But instances of
money bequeathed to a statesman in recognition of his services, or a
literary man in recognition of his eminence, are exceedingly rare. In
Rome they were very common. Cicero declares, giving it as a proof of the
way in which he had been appreciated by his fellow-citizens, that he had
received two hundred thousand pounds in legacies. This was in the last
year of his life. This does something to help us out of our difficulty.
Only we must remember that it could hardly have been till somewhat late
in his career that these recognitions of his services to the State and
to his friends began to fall in. He made about twenty thousand pounds
out of his year's government of his province, but it is probable that
this money was lost. Then, again, he was elected into the College of
Augurs (this was in his fifty-fourth year). These religious colleges
were very rich. Their banquets were proverbial for their splendor.
Whether the individual members derived any benefit from their revenues
we do not know. We often find him complaining of debt; but he always
speaks of it as a temporary inconvenience rather than as a permanent
burden. It does not oppress him; he can always find spirits enough to
laugh at it. When he buys his great town mansion on the Palatine Hill
(it had belonged to the wealthy Crassus), for thirty thousand pounds, he
says, "I now owe so much that I should be glad to conspire if any body
would accept me as an accomplice." But this is not the way in which a
man who did not see his way out of his difficulties would speak.

Domestic affairs furnish a frequent topic. He gives accounts of the
health of his wife he announces the birth of his children. In after
years he sends the news when his daughter is betrothed and when she is
married, and tells of the doings and prospects of his son. He has also a
good deal to say about his brother's household, which, as I have said
before, was not very happy. Here is a scene of their domestic life.
"When I reached Arpinum, my brother came to me. First we had much talk
about you; afterwards we came to the subject which you and I had
discussed at Tusculum. I never saw any thing so gentle, so kind as my
brother was in speaking of your sister. If there had been any ground for
their disagreement, there was nothing to notice. So much for that day.
On the morrow we left for Arpinum. Quintus had to remain in the Retreat;
I was going to stay at Aquinum. Still we lunched at the Retreat (you
know the place). When we arrived Quintus said in the politest way,
'Pomponia, ask the ladies in; I will call the servants,' Nothing
could--so at least I thought--have been more pleasantly said, not only
as far as words go, but in tone and look. However, she answered before
us all, 'I am myself but a stranger here.' This, I fancy, was because
Statius had gone on in advance to see after the lunch. 'See,' said
Quintus, 'this is what I have to put up with every day.' Perhaps you
will say, 'What was there in this?' It was really serious, so serious as
to disturb me much, so unreasonably, so angrily did she speak and look.
I did not show it, but I was greatly vexed. We all sat down to table,
all, that is, but her. However, Quintus sent her something from the
table. She refused it Not to make a long story of it, no one could have
been more gentle than my brother, and no one more exasperating than your
sister--in my judgment at least, and I pass by many other things which
offended me more than they did Quintus. I went on to Aquinum." (The
lady's behavior was all the more blameworthy because her husband was on
his way to a remote province.) "Quintus remained at the Retreat. The
next day he joined me at Arpinum. Your sister, he told me, would have
nothing to do with him, and up to the moment of her departure was just
in the same mood in which I had seen her."

Another specimen of letters touching on a more agreeable topic may
interest my readers. It is a hearty invitation.

"To my delight, Cincius" (he was Atticus' agent)" came to me between
daylight on January 30th, with the news that you were in Italy. He was
sending, he said, messengers to you, I did not like them to go without a
letter from me, not that I had any thing to write to you, especially
when you were so close, but that I wished you to understand with what
delight I anticipate your coming ... The day you arrive come to my house
with all your party. You will find that Tyrannio" (a Greek man of
letters) "has arranged my books marvelously well. What remains of them
is much more satisfactory than I thought[10]. I should be glad if you
would send me two of your library clerks, for Tullius to employ as
binders and helpers in general; give some orders too to take some
parchment for indices. All this, however, if it suits your convenience.
Any how, come yourself and bring Pilia[11] with you. That is but right.
Tullia too wishes it."

[Footnote 10: They had suffered with the rest of Cicero's property at the
time of his exile.]

[Footnote 11: Pilia was the lady to whom Atticus was engaged]



There were some things in which Mark Antony resembled Caesar. At the
time it seemed probable that he would play the same part, and even climb
to the same height of power. He failed in the end because he wanted the
power of managing others, and, still more, of controlling himself. He
came of a good stock. His grandfather had been one of the greatest
orators of his day, his father was a kindly, generous man, his mother a
kinswoman of Caesar, a matron of the best Roman type. But he seemed
little likely to do credit to his belongings. His riotous life became
conspicuous even in a city where extravagance and vice were only too
common, and his debts, though not so enormous as Caesar's, were greater,
says Plutarch, than became his youth, for they amounted to about fifty
thousand pounds. He was taken away from these dissipations by military
service in the East, and he rapidly acquired considerable reputation as
a soldier. Here is the picture that Plutarch draws of him: There was
something noble and dignified in his appearance. His handsome beard, his
broad forehead, his aquiline nose, gave him a manly look that resembled
the familiar statues and pictures of Hercules. There was indeed a legend
that the Antonii were descended from a son of Hercules; and this he was
anxious to support by his appearance and dress. Whenever he appeared in
public he had his tunic gired up to the hip, carried a great sword at
his side, and wore a rough cloak of Cilician hair. The habits too that
seemed vulgar to others--his boastfulness, his coarse humor, his
drinking bouts, the way he had of eating in public, taking his meals as
he stood from the soldiers' tables--had an astonishing effect in making
him popular with the soldiers. His bounty too, the help which he gave
with a liberal hand to comrades and friends, made his way to power easy.
On one occasion he directed that a present of three thousand pounds
should be given to a friend. His steward, aghast at the magnitude of the
sum, thought to bring it home to his master's mind by putting the actual
coin on a table. "What is this?" said Antony, as he happened to pass by.
"The money you bade me pay over," was the man's reply. "Why, I had
thought it would be ten times as much as this. This is but a trifle. Add
to it as much more."

When the civil war broke out, Antony joined the party of Caesar, who,
knowing his popularity with the troops, made him his second in command.
He did good service at Pharsalia, and while his chief went on to Egypt,
returned to Rome as his representative. There were afterwards
differences between the two; Caesar was offended at the open scandal of
Antony's manners and found him a troublesome adherent; Antony conceived
himself to be insufficiently rewarded for his services, especially when
he was called upon to pay for Pompey's confiscated property, which he
had bought. Their close alliance, however, had been renewed before
Caesar's death. That event made him the first man in Rome. The chief
instrument of his power was a strange one; the Senate, seeing that the
people of Rome gloved and admired the dead man, passed a resolution that
all the wishes which Caesar had left in writing should have the force of
law--and Antony had the custody of his papers. People laughed, and
called the documents "Letters from the Styx." There was the gravest
suspicion that many of them were forged. But for a time they were a very
powerful machinery for effecting his purpose.

Then came a check. Caesar's nephew and heir, Octavius, arrived at Rome.
Born in the year of Cicero's consulship, he was little more than
nineteen; but in prudence, statecraft, and knowledge of the world he was
fully grown. In his twelfth year he had delivered the funeral oration
over his grandmother Julia. After winning some distinction as a soldier
in Spain, he had returned at his uncle's bidding to Apollonia, a town of
the eastern coast of the Adriatic, where he studied letters and
philosophy under Greek teachers. Here he had received the title of
"Master of the Horse," an honor which gave him the rank next to the
Dictator himself. He came to Rome with the purpose, as he declared, of
claiming his inheritance and avenging his uncle's death. But he knew how
to abide his time. He kept on terms with Antony, who had usurped his
position and appropriated his inheritance, and he was friendly, if not
with the actual murderers of Caesar, yet certainly with Cicero, who made
no secret of having approved their deed.

For Cicero also had now returned to public life. For some time past,
both before Caesar's death and after it, he had devoted himself to
literature.[12] Now there seemed to him a chance that something might yet
be done for the republic, and he returned to Rome, which he reached on
the last day of August. The next day there was a meeting of the Senate,
at which Antony was to propose certain honors to Caesar. Cicero,
wearied, or affecting to be wearied, by his journey, was absent, and was
fiercely attacked by Antony, who threatened to send workmen to dig him
out of his house.

[Footnote 12: To the years 46-44 belong nearly all his treatises on
rhetoric and philosophy.]

The next day Cicero was in his place, Antony being absent, and made a
dignified defense of his conduct, and criticised with some severity the
proceedings of his assailant. Still so far there was no irreconcilable
breach between the two men. "Change your course," says the orator, "I
beseech you: think of those who have gone before, and so steer the
course of the Commonwealth that your countrymen may rejoice that you
were born. Without this no man can be happy or famous." He still
believed, or professed to believe, that Antony was capable of
patriotism. If he had any hopes of peace, these were soon to be crushed.
After a fortnight or more spent in preparation, assisted, we are told,
by a professional teacher of eloquence, Antony came down to the Senate
and delivered a savage invective against Cicero. The object of his
attack was again absent. He had wished to attend the meeting, but his
friends hindered him, fearing, not without reason, actual violence from
the armed attendants whom Antony was accustomed to bring into the

The attack was answered in the famous oration which is called the second
Philippic[13]. If I could transcribe this speech (which, for other
reasons besides its length, I cannot do) it would give us a strange
picture of "Roman Life." It is almost incredible that a man so shameless
and so vile should have been the greatest power in a state still
nominally free. I shall give one extract from it. Cicero has been
speaking of Antony's purchase of Pompey's confiscated property. "He was
wild with joy, like a character in a farce; a beggar one day, a
millionaire the next. But, as some writer says, 'Ill gotten, ill kept.'
It is beyond belief, it is an absolute miracle, how he squandered this
vast property--in a few months do I say?--no, in a few days. There was a
great cellar of wine, a very great quantity of excellent plate, costly
stuffs, plenty of elegant and even splendid furniture, just as one might
expect in a man who was affluent without being luxurious. And of all
this within a few days there was left nothing. Was there ever a
Charybdis so devouring? A Charybdis, do I say? no--if there ever was
such a thing, it was but a single animal. Good heavens! I can scarcely
believe that the whole ocean could have swallowed up so quickly
possessions so numerous, so scattered, and lying at places so distant.
Nothing was locked up, nothing sealed, nothing catalogued. Whole
store-rooms were made a present of to the vilest creatures. Actors and
actresses of burlesque were busy each with plunder of their own. The
mansion was full of dice players and drunkards. There was drinking from
morning to night, and that in many places. His losses at dice (for even
he is not always lucky) kept mounting up. In the chambers of slaves you
might see on the beds the purple coverlets which had belonged to the
great Pompey. No wonder that all this wealth was spent so quickly.
Reckless men so abandoned might well have speedily devoured, not only
the patrimony of a single citizen, however ample--and ample it was--but
whole cities and kingdoms."

[Footnote 13: The orations against Antony--there are fourteen of
them--are called "Philippics," a name transferred to them from, the
great speeches in which Demosthenes attacked Philip of Macedon. The name
seems to have been in common use in Juvenal's time (_circa_ 110 A.D.)]

The speech was never delivered but circulated in writing. Toward the end
of 44, Antony, who found the army deserting him for the young Octavius,
left Rome, and hastened into northern Italy, to attack Decimus Brutus.
Brutus was not strong enough to venture on a battle with him, and shut
himself up in Mutina. Cicero continued to take the leading part in
affairs at Rome, delivering the third and fourth Philippics in December,
44, and the ten others during the five months of the following year. The
fourteenth was spoken in the Senate, when the fortunes of the falling
republic seem to have revived. A great battle had been fought at Mutina,
in which Antony had been completely defeated; and Cicero proposed
thanks to the commanders and troops, and honors to those who had fallen.

The joy with which these tidings had been received was but very brief.
Of the three generals named in the vote of thanks the two who had been
loyal to the republic were dead; the third, the young Octavius, had
found the opportunity for which he had been waiting of betraying it. The
soldiers were ready to do his bidding, and he resolved to seize by their
help the inheritance of power which his uncle had left him. Antony had
fled across the Alps, and had been received by Lepidus, who was in
command of a large army in that province, Lepidus resolved to play the
part which Crassus had played sixteen years before. He brought about a
reconciliation between Octavius and Antony, as Crassus had reconciled
Pompey and Caesar, and was himself admitted as a third into their
alliance. Thus was formed the Second Triumvirate.

The three chiefs who had agreed to divide the Roman world between them
met on a little island near Bononia (the modern Bonogna) and discussed
their plans. Three days were given to their consultations, the chief
subject being the catalogue of enemies, public and private, who were to
be destroyed. Each had a list of his own; and on Antony's the first name
was Cicero. Lepidus assented, as he was ready to assent to all the
demands of his more resolute colleagues; but the young Octavius is said
to have long resisted, and to have given way only on the last day. A
list of between two and three thousand names of senators and knights was
drawn up. Seventeen were singled out for instant execution, and among
these seventeen was Cicero. He was staying at his home in Tusculum with
his brother Quintus when the news reached him. His first impulse was to
make for the sea-coast. If he could reach Macedonia, where Brutus had a
powerful army, he would, for a time at least, be safe. The two brothers
started. But Quintus had little or nothing with him, and was obliged to
go home to fetch some money. Cicero, who was himself but ill provided,
pursued his journey alone. Reaching the coast, he embarked. When it came
to the point of leaving Italy his resolution failed him. He had always
felt the greatest aversion for camp life. He had had an odious
experience of it when Pompey was struggling with Caesar for the mastery.
He would sooner die, he thought, than make trial of it again. He landed,
and traveled twelve miles towards Rome. Some afterwards said that he
still cherished hopes of being protected by Antony; others that it was
his purpose to make his way into the house of Octavius and kill himself
on his hearth, cursing him with his last breath, but that he was
deterred by the fear of being seized and tortured. Any how, he turned
back, and allowed his slaves to take him to Capua. The plan of taking
refuge with Brutus was probably urged upon him by his companions, who
felt that this gave the only chance of their own escape. Again he
embarked, and again he landed. Plutarch tells a strange story of a flock
of ravens that settled on the yardarms of his ship while he was on
board, and on the windows of the villa in which he passed the night. One
bird, he says, flew upon his couch and pecked at the cloak in which he
had wrapped himself. His slaves reproached themselves at allowing a
master, whom the very animals were thus seeking to help, to perish
before their eyes. Almost by main force they put him into his litter and
carried him toward the coast. Antony's soldiers now reached the villa,
the officer in command being an old client whom Cicero had successfully
defended on a charge of murder. They found the doors shut and burst them
open. The inmates denied all knowledge of their master's movements, till
a young Greek, one of his brother's freedmen, whom Cicero had taken a
pleasure in teaching, showed the officer the litter which was being
carried through the shrubbery of the villa to the sea. Taking with him
some of his men, he hastened to follow. Cicero, hearing their steps,
bade the bearers set the litter on the ground. He looked out, and
stroking his chin with his left hand, as his habit was, looked
steadfastly at the murderers. His face was pale and worn with care. The
officer struck him on the neck with his sword, some of the rough
soldiers turning away while the deed was done. The head and hands were
cut off by order of Antony, and nailed up in the Forum.

Many years afterwards the Emperor Augustus (the Octavius of this
chapter), coming unexpectedly upon one of his grandsons, saw the lad
seek to hide in his robe a volume which he had been reading. He took it,
and found it to be one of the treatises of Cicero. He returned it with
words which I would here repeat; "He was a good man and a lover of his


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